An Insider’s View of 2021: Event Design and Production
Whether they’re in-person or virtual, this year’s events will once again be dramatic and theatrical, predicts Michael Dalton of LEO Events
In 2020, Covid broke some of our mechanisms but not our spirits. While we will still be fighting against forces we can’t control for much of 2021, we’ll be doing so with more wisdom plus new weapons.
The next generation of in-person events will, out of necessity, be hybrid events. They will achieve a careful balance between creativity and value; between efficiency and the joy of live experience.
Health and safety will come first, of course. People will travel shorter distances in smaller numbers to assemble in ultra-clean spaces. They will wear masks and maintain safe distances, but they will be so happy to be there.The events they attend will look and feel more like the pre-pandemic physical experiences we remember fondly than the cautiously assembled, sparsely appointed pop-ups we saw in late 2020. Events will be designed for Covid safety, but around those measures they will once again be dramatic and theatrical—with design, technology, and production values that reward the effort and risk inherent in attending. Because a certain degree of spectacle is necessary to create a palpable sense of stature, sets will be designed to energize both the in-person and remote audiences. Simply put: When it looks like a real event and feels like a real event, it is a real event.
Technology will enable more variety in how people participate in these events, and we will find new ways to unite remote and in-person attendees—the two groups will be aware of each other in ways we didn’t consider before Covid. Those attending from home will feel the energy, the urgency, and the community being created by the people at the event location. And those on site will be understanding of and receptive to the new presentation and engagement techniques that are aimed in multiple directions.