What 2021 means for live events

What 2021 means for live events
With the hope of vaccines being rolled out across the globe, the live events industry could now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is still a lot of ground to cover before any sense of normality returns.

In the meantime, live event companies across EMEA are now turning their attention to a gradual return and a focus on hybrid events as we head into the new year. 


Europe has found itself in a difficult position throughout the pandemic, with countries such as the France, UK, Italy and Spain ranking in the top ten countries with the highest Coronavirus cases worldwide. 

With this in mind, it’s been no wonder that the return to live events has been slowed dramatically, with companies in the live events industry taking part in protests and awareness events throughout the summer, including the live event industry. 

Jesper Laursen, AV Center, commented: "[live events] have not come back and no one knows when they will. 

"It will be all about online events with a lot of streaming solutions. Fortunately, we are well known for that part as well. We had a little hope that outdoor concerts might be held, but unfortunately it does not look like that at the moment."

In the UK, it appears that hybrid events will remain dominant as we move into the new year. Jonjo Glynn, venues director, White Light, commented: “With the exception of a few socially-distanced concerts and drive-in performances to test the water, we are yet to see a return to live events in the UK. While the appetite is abundantly there, fuelled by awareness campaigns such as ‘We Make Events’, there is still much uncertainty regarding the regional tier systems and when these might be removed. Optimism is rife across the industry, especially since the rollout of a vaccine was announced, however it will take time for confidence in hosting large-scale live events to be restored. With the option of mass testing measures in addition to the vaccination campaign, we hope to start seeing a gradual return to a normality of sorts from spring 2021. 
“Undoubtedly a hybrid fusion will form a significant element of live events going forward. This concept is by no means new to us, as we have been investing in and utilising the vast range of technology available to deliver hybrid events for some time.  The pandemic has simply brought this to the forefront, as venues, suppliers and buyers plan for a return to events, enabling them to reach far beyond restricted physical audience capacities. Of its many benefits, the hybrid element helps with CSR by reducing the carbon footprint, while broadening the horizons for the consumption of content and unlimited growth of global audiences.
"Strategic planning for every layer of the supply chain is being somewhat hampered by ongoing uncertainty regarding the regulation and legislation of events delivery in the ‘new normal’ world. A major ask from the ‘We Make Events’ movement is for the government to provide a clear and concise roadmap enabling businesses to plan for their recovery. In the meantime, the appetite and demand for a return to live events continues to build with mounting optimism.  
“Throughout the pandemic, our work as a company thankfully has not disappeared entirely, as major projects across our installations and broadcast markets have been able to proceed. We have also seen an explosion of events transform into fully virtual solutions, with our immersive, mixed-reality SmartStage technology providing a game-changing production environment to facilitate these. Next year, White Light turns 50 years old and while 2020 has hit us, along with so many others, harder than any other moment in our history, we remain positive. As live events return, we will continue with our unique method of technological alchemy and utilising R+D across the breadth of the company to innovate new solutions for our clients.” 
Middle East 

The Middle East is experiencing positive signs of a return to live events in the region; however many live events continue to remain scaled back with limited audiences and virtual elements. 

Andy Reardon, Middle East managing director, Creative Technology Emirates [CT], commented: 
“Arguably, the most significant return in live events has come from the sporting sector. CT have been fortunate to work on many of these such as the DP World Tour in Dubai, the first Ladies European Tour to take place in Saudi Arabia and the first mass running event to take place in the UAE since the pandemic to name a few. 

“Live events as we used to know them will take time to return. Currently, events are taking place with scaled audiences and/or with virtual elements which we feel may continue for some time. Fortunately, CT have had the technology and ability to provide clients with streaming and virtual solutions for many years. At the start of the pandemic, we moved virtual event technology to the centre of our offering, and we are continuing to develop services and solutions to allow our client to carry out events safely. 

“CT Globally were quick to adapt to new working procedures at the start of the pandemic and put several safety measures in place. As an ISO 45001:2018 certified company, we are fully committed to continually provide a safe working environment for our employees, delegates and clients.”

Looking to the future, CT is looking to bigger and better live events as 2021 rolls around. Reardon: “CT have been fortunate to work on various live events over the past couple of months, and we see positive signs that this will continue in 2021. We have had several communications with long-standing clients regarding a variety of events in the new year, and we remain hopeful that this will continue and that our industry will bounce back. 

“We are a global leader in delivering live events across all sectors and are passionate about the work we do. I am sure I speak for many when I say we are bursting to get back to doing what we do best which is delivering extraordinary event experiences.”  

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