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The Return of Live Music



Influencer: When people feel confident about going to live events, gathering in person for business will follow shortly after, believes The Creative Engagement Group's Tim Collett

The Return of Live Music

Just a week ago, we heard the news we had been waiting for. Sadly, it wasn’t England being crowned champions of European football (the country’s 55-year wait for a major tournament win goes on) but if you are involved in the events industry, it was (possibly) an even bigger cause for celebration - the return of, amongst other things, live music and mass events. The 19th of July - England’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ - sees events at full capacity being given the green light. 

You can certainly feel the frenzy and anticipation building up wherever you look and sense confidence coming back to the industry. Pop star Anne Marie will be one of the first artists to stage a live gig as part of the ‘Capital Up Close with Barclaycard’ series of events, Capital Radio’s first show with a live audience since 2019. The shows were announced with a campaign featuring augmented reality and 3D avatars - perhaps a nod to the role virtual has played in supporting events during the pandemic. The Reading and Leeds music festivals meanwhile have said ‘it’s almost festival month’ while the Isle of Wight Festival was quietly confident with regards to the lifting of restrictions, reaffirming its plans to go ahead even before the official government confirmation. 

At The Creative Engagement Group, we’re delighted to see the return of music performances and festivals. We believe this is the first step people will want to take when returning to live events, ahead of attending business gatherings. And what better way to celebrate this latest lifting of restrictions than with music? It brings people together, helping to forge connections, providing inspiration and hope. We saw this at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, with people in Italy singing from their balconies and playing instruments, providing entertainment and boosting morale across the world. There is no better demonstration than this of the power of music, and how it can create a shared experience, even when people are remote or in isolation. 

The return to live events will give people a chance to meet in an informal setting and to explore how comfortable and safe they feel in a face-to-face environment. This can only be good news for the business events industry and will help to further instil confidence for the return of all types of events, small, medium-sized and those on a mass scale. Earlier this year, we hosted a virtual focus group assessing people’s perceptions on the return of live events. The research showed there is appetite and excitement for the return of live events, but levels of confidence among respondents was noticeably low. Crucially, when asked about what type of events people would attend first, the research showed a 76% preference around attending social events over business ones in the first instance.

We believe that when we get to the point where we all want to be - a successful opening up of the country and as close to a return to normal as possible, where we can safely enjoy gigs, festivals and the theatre - people gathering in person for business will follow very shortly after.

Make no mistake though: it certainly won’t be business as usual. We are yet to find out what, if any restrictions may apply for mass events but this is likely to be at the discretion of the organiser. Based on the results of various pilot events carried out under the government’s ‘Event Research Programme’, which aimed to examine the risk of Covid-19 transmission from attendance at events, we could see a mix of measures introduced to help reassure attendees.

While the advent of ‘Freedom Day’ has come too late for Glastonbury - the most iconic music festival and live event of them all - it’s a milestone moment for both consumer and business events. Glastonbury’s ‘Live at Worthy Farm’ livestream demonstrated how compelling a virtual live music event can be, with reviews describing the overall experience as leaving you both ‘emotional and exhausted at the same time’. Now, with live music events back on the agenda, it’s time to experience those feelings in person. 

Tim Collett is head of events, WRG – a division of The Creative Engagement Group

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The Creative Engagement Group UK, Fri, 16 Jul 2021 12:32:00 GMT