Let's not go back to normal

These days we’re asking ourselves when we’ll get back to “normal”, what kind of “normal” this will be and also if we really want to go back to “normal” pre- Covid19.  I think we’re all hearing a certain call to inflection. The planet is trying to tell us something and that it’s essential to listen and make changes.

Right now there are for sure more questions than answers, we haven’t got a clue when or how we’ll get out of this situation and to what point our perception of life itself and the sector we work in will change, internally as well as externally.

Amongst all these uncertainties it’s important to detect positive shifts that give us reason to hope and something to work towards, creating a stronger base, a better starting point that enables us to build a more united, more visible and more sustainable events industry.

Here go 5 ideas that have been circulating lately regarding the present and future of events, small seeds that will hopefully grow over the coming times:

Visibility

The events’ sector is making noise and we’re getting mobilized. To this day over 400k people have signed a petition on change.org asking for a federal aid package in the US. Eventoplus is vindicating the importance of our industry to the Spanish economy, estimating that it creates around 230.000 full time jobs and is worth of over 20.000 million euros.

Community

Promoters, organizers, agencies and providers are helping each other out, creating stronger networks and community. Actions such as “Confinamos en ti” by Ray Torrents (Events Management Institute) inviting all event agencies to publish their best events in order to create a joint “presentation” is a great initiative, as well as movements such as #FestivalsStandUnited that aim to get together the main European festivals and join forces in these critical times for the music industry.  

Sustainability

El día después (the day after) is a platform created to “learn from the crisis during the crisis” in order to see what we can extract from the current situation that could help us accelerate the changes needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 once we overcome the health emergency. Out of the 1000 participants that took part in the platform’s launch via zoom, an overwhelming majority is convinced that “the day after” will be more sustainable, and this will be key not only for environmental issues but also social justice. The Spanish event association AEVEA published an article about the competitive advantages of creating more and more sustainable events, which we feel should be considered a basic requirement, plus more and more artists are signing up to green riders.  

Creativity

It’s well known that crises are supposed to inspire creativity (even though this concept has also often been used to justify budget reductions). But this is truly a crisis of its own and will make us re-think events from bottom up, as our industry heavily relies on contact and proximity, surely leading to new formats: smaller? more local? virtual? We don’t know yet, but it looks like we’re looking at more hybrid events that will be using different complementary platforms in order to be more resilient.

Resilience

Resilience is key in order to come back stronger and better protected in case of future crises. Beyond knowing how to best prevent risks and having protocols in place in order be able to react quickly and correctly in any kind of emergency, what will really help us will be the combination of all point above: a strong, mobilized, visible, flexible and creative network that feeds off different sources and fields of knowledge.

Laura Clark