Insight: Issue 51 (30th June)
So, another slow news week then?
Moving swiftly on… Today we’ve got: a rallying cry from the live music and theatre industries for the government to publish the results of the Events Research Programme; the first in-person UK trade show in 15 months took place last week; Oxfordshire’s first hybrid regatta also made a big splash, with viewing figures in the thousands; six tips for captivating online event attendees; one of Glastonbury’s co-organisers is urging the UK government to support live events; BUT Glasgow music festivals could take place from August, if we don’t stray from that all-important COVID road map.
LIVE calls for ERP data to be published
The live music industry body LIVE and a range of theatre businesses have commenced legal proceedings against the government, to force it to hand over the Phase 1 report of the Events Research Programme (ERP). The ERP is the government’s research into COVID-19 mitigations for mass gatherings, and music and theatre businesses have repeatedly asked for the scientific basis for event restrictions to be made public.
Recent pilot events across the UK have been a huge success – according to the government itself, we hasten to add – showing that live events at full capacity can go ahead safely, with the right precautions in place. Despite this, the government decided to keep the live entertainment industry under severe restrictions from 21 June, and they are still refusing to publish the ERP results.
The legal action asserts that the government has flagrantly breached the ‘duty of candour’ and requests an urgent hearing ASAP. Full details here.
The first in-person trade show in 15 months
‘The conversations I’ve had today would never have happened at a virtual event.’
‘I’ve forgotten how nice it is to see people face to face and have these conversations.’
‘This is a taste of things to come!’
These reactions capture a flavour of the enthusiasm expressed on the first day of ISE London last week – the first large-scale, in-person trade show to take place in the UK in 15 months. If you’re missing live events and want to live vicariously through these lucky attendees, watch this.
Oxford’s first hybrid regatta makes a splash
Oxfordshire’s first hybrid regatta – involving 147 boats and over 1,500 participants – has taken place on the River Thames. A live stream of Oxford University Rowing Club’s four-day summer event was watched online by over 40,000 people from 95 countries, in addition to local spectators who gathered (in a socially-distanced fashion) in front of a giant LED screen at Christ Church College.
Four cameras lined the course, streaming back to the main mixing hub. The commentary team consisted of one remote commentator, dialled in through Zoom, and one in-person commentator at the boathouse. As well as being broadcast to a bespoke landing page, the edited footage has also been made available on YouTube – so you can watch all the nail-biting, oar-locking action at your leisure.
6 tips for captivating online event attendees
Multi-tasking during online events is unfortunate but inevitable (come on, we’ve all done it). So how do you keep your online attendees engaged, and keep virtual bums on virtual seats? So to speak. Smart Meetings has six suggestions:
- Find knowledgeable, diverse speakers. Without audience interaction, solo presenters have to be experts in their fields to keep attendees interested – and they *must* be diverse to appeal to an international audience.
- Keep session descriptions specific. If you’re looking to attract a targeted audience, you have to keep your event topic and your session descriptions focused. No two ways about it.
- Scrutinise the flow of your agenda. Arrange for a hands-on, workshop-style session at the start of the day when participants are fresh – and round off with a lighter, more informal topic at the end of the day as attention spans dwindle.
- Create interactive content. Once you get attendees logged in to your session, the challenge is keeping them engaged throughout – carrying out interactive polls at key points in the presentation should do the trick.
- Be social. Build excitement for your speakers and sessions by creating buzz on your social channels. A memorable event hashtag is always a good shout.
- Make the most of your virtual event platform. Securing a high attendance rate for online events can be tricky – that’s why it’s important to adopt an end-to-end virtual event platform. (Ahem, we humbly recommend Cameron Live).
Emily Eavis urges UK govt to support live events
Last Wednesday would have been the day when giddy festival-goers descended on Worthy Farm for Glastonbury 2021. But the coronavirus pandemic had other plans, forcing Glastonbury’s cancellation for the second year in a row.
Festival co-organiser Emily Eavis took to Instagram to thank everyone who had been sharing their festival memories with her over the past week. She also took the opportunity to urge the government to announce new guidance for ‘the many events which are currently hanging in the balance’. She added: ‘There is a whole ecosystem of artists, crew and suppliers who desperately need this support now or risk going out of business forever’.
Festivals could happen in Glasgow from August
In slightly better news, music festivals could go ahead as planned in Glasgow this summer – *if* the COVID road map stays on track. According to Professor Jason Leitch, Scotland’s Clinical Director, the planned end of physical distancing rules on 9 August will allow large-scale gatherings like festivals, concerts, and sporting events to take place.
TRNSMT could, for example, go ahead in Glasgow Green on 10-12 September. Although Prof Leitch did pose a caveat – ‘I would write that in your diary in pencil not Sharpie marker, for now’… But still! We’ll take hope where we can get it, right guys?