Insight: Issue 09 (26th August)
Here’s a question. . .
Would you volunteer to attend a concert, right now, if it meant we could better protect ourselves from COVID-19 in a live event environment?
Because that’s exactly what 1,500 Germans did last weekend. Keep reading to find out what the hell we’re on about…In today’s insight, we’ve got news of: VisitScotland’s COVID-19 support fund for event companies; new government guidance for the performing arts and venues sector; a timeline for the recovery of the events industry (be warned, it’s not pretty); Germany’s ‘Restart-19’ research project (all will become clear); 14 inspirational reads for event profs; and 9 good-news stories, because we all need it.
VisitScotland launches COVID-19 support fund for events industry
The amazing folks at VisitScotland are launching the Events Industry Support Fund, which will provide financial help for businesses in the events industry—particularly those in the supply chain—who have been ineligible for the various COVID funding packages announced by the Scottish Government so far.
Applicants must be able to demonstrate that: (1) events in Scotland are their primary source of income, and (2) they have not received funding from any other government sponsored COVID scheme. Funds will be allocated on a first come, first served basis—and successful applicants will receive a one-off grant of £10,000.
Applications will go live on Monday 31 August at 12 noon for 14 days, closing on Monday 14 September 2020. To find out more about the application process and the eligibility criteria, go to the Visit Scotland website.
New govt guidance for performing arts & venues sector
Last week the Scottish Government announced new coronavirus guidance for the performing arts and venues sector. As usual, it’s hard to keep track of what’s actually changed—so if you need a refresher, you’ll find everything you need to know on the government website. The guidance outlines the things organisations should consider when planning to restart production whilst minimising transmission of the virus, including:
- Assessing risk—how to implement a risk-based approach to a safer workplace.
- Workforce planning—how to support those who are coming to work, and those who are not (e.g. if they’re working from home).
- An operational guide—how to change the workplace environment to protect your staff, those working temporarily in a venue (e.g. touring performers), and the public.
Unfortunately, performing arts venues still cannot open to the public for live performances with an audience—but they can use the guidance for training, rehearsal, recording, broadcast, pre-production, and performances without an audience. It’s a start.
Event industry recovery timeline
In last week’s insight, we mentioned a recent poll that revealed 52% of event profs believe the events industry will not recover from the COVID crisis for 1-2 years. Based on Event Manager Blog’s recently refreshed timeline for event industry recovery, these instincts may well be bang on. This update suggests that:
- A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels is not expected until 2021.
- Hybrid and local events will start to pick up towards the end of this year, backed up by a strong virtual component.
- As testing technology develops, the public will feel more comfortable returning to live events—but probably not before January 2021.
By revisiting this timeline every few months, the EMB team are hoping to provide event profs with a factually informed outlook to guide their decision-making. The chart should be taken with a pinch of salt (the advice is changing every day, after all!), but it should help planners to gauge the level of risk associated with hosting events at particular times of the year.
Germany puts on crowded concerts to study coronavirus risks
Scientists in Germany have held 3 pop concerts in a single day to investigate the risks posed by mass indoor events during the pandemic. The concert study—called Restart-19 (we see what they did there…)—was created “to investigate the conditions under which such events can be carried out despite the pandemic”, according to researchers.
About 1,500 healthy volunteers, aged between 18 and 50, took part. The first of the 3 concerts aimed to simulate an event before the pandemic, with no safety measures in place; the second involved increased hygiene measures and some social distancing; while the third involved half the numbers, with attendees standing 1.5m apart. All participants were tested for COVID-19 beforehand, and were given face masks and tracking devices to measure their distancing.
The head of the study at Halle University said the data collection went smoothly and he was “very satisfied” with how the event unfolded. Also worth noting, Singer Tim Bendzko commented that the atmosphere “exceeded his expectations” and masks did not detract from the experience.
Check it out here. Initial results of the study are expected in the autumn.
14 inspirational reads to keep you going
In the midst of a truly devastating year, one thing has kept us going—the unwavering strength, resilience, and creativity of our colleagues and friends in the events industry. It’s in this spirit that we’re sharing the Event Leadership Institute’s 14 inspirational reads for event and meeting planners. To pique your interest, here are a few titles from the list:
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport.
- The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success by Maria Ross.
- Reinvent Yourself by James Altucher.
- Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath.
- Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall.
Based on current events, that last one looks like a good place to start.
9 positive news stories for event profs
Last for today, something we all desperately need…some good news.
MeetingsNet shared 9 positive stories from across the meetings industry and, honestly it’s a breath of fresh air. From hospitality businesses and hotels bouncing back, to carbon-neutral flying and a more sustainable travel industry—good things are still happening in the world. Take a minute, head on over there, and see for yourself.
Keep hope alive!