Event industry about corona: festivals that offer connection remain intact

Image from left to right: Chantal Musquetier, Denis Doeland and Raymond Bresching.

Mass events with a national appearance are only possible again if there is a vaccine, according to the Cabinet’s formal message last Thursday. “Of course we hope that there will be a vaccine soon, but a year or more is realistic,” said Minister De Jonge. A concrete decision will be taken no later than 1 September.

This logically has consequences for the events industry. The sector sees turnover of € 3.5 billion evaporate and 48,000 jobs disappear, according to the consultancy Respons. For 2020, forecast revenue of € 7.4 billion had been calculated, representing 100,000 jobs. “The results of the study support the catastrophic consequences of the coronavirus for the entire event industry,” the agency said.

Painful figures, but at the same time not strange when you consider that no fewer than 1,115 festivals were organized in the Netherlands last year with a visitor number of 19.5 million (source EM Cultuur). Add to that the lack of SAIL, the Song Festival and the European Football Championship in 2020 and we can indeed speak of a lost year of events.

But what do the experts say?

Chantal Musquetier is an ‘entertainment marketer’ and works from C. Inc. for companies such as Van Gogh Museum, Nomobo and André Rieu. She previously worked for international dance brands such as Armin van Buuren, Alda Events and Amsterdam Music Festival. The government’s decision not to honor major events until there is a vaccine she understands rationally, but emotionally it is a different story. ‘The Netherlands is a festival and event country. We are pioneers in developing concepts and shows. We appeal to a huge international target group who visit the Netherlands en masse, so this hurts. Since crowds should be avoided now, this makes sense, but I think the rule that the event industry should wait for a vaccine is a step too far. And the way in which that rule is thrown out into the world does not deserve the beauty prize either. “

Musquetier expects collaboration between festivals and large sponsors such as Heineken and Coca-Cola to continue. “These types of brands enter into partnerships to strengthen brand preference and engagement with their target audience. Initially, a stop will be set up there, but our event and entertainment professionals are known for looking primarily at what is possible. Everyone is now brooding on new concepts. I think that brands will now appreciate each other’s strength even more. ‘

Our largest export product, the DJs, are really facing a major challenge, says Musquetier. “They see their evaporation all year round. I expect it will take until 2021 for artists to perform structurally again. I do see that DJs want to keep the involvement with their fans and therefore release new music and set up live streams. One DJ is better at that than the other, so you see a big difference in quality, but the intention is good. ‘

Denis Doeland in his early years caused a furore like DJ Weirdo and worked for event organization ID&T for 18 years, where he was responsible for setting up the company’s digital strategy. He has been advising as a consultancy owner since 2011 DDMCA media and entertainment companies. He had been seeing the corona decision for some time. Doeland expects many sponsorship deals in the event industry to take a different form or even die. ‘The events that are able to maintain a good connection with their visitors in the digital landscape will also keep the sponsors hooked up. The festivals that don’t connect will lose their sponsors. At paid events, 5 to 10% of the income will be lost. At the free festivals this can even rise to 20%. ‘

Doeland also empathizes with the picture turners. “They are at home for the time being. Although there are already more options in the Asian part of the world, the vast majority of DJs will certainly not be able to perform until 2021. This means that they have to focus on the primary revenue model, namely the release of new music and the promotion of music from their catalog. After all, there is no performance without music, that’s the adage. ‘

Doeland takes a look into the future: a significant part of the industry will not make it to spring next year. “In the coming year, organizers who are taking rigorous measures and reinventing themselves will be particularly busy maintaining relationships with fans and visitors in the digital world. Websites, social media, newsletters and chatbots are becoming more important than ever. The organizations that can afford to scale down and find a way to invest something will survive in the long term. ”

Raymond Bresching is co-owner of Counter Content, where he works for, among others, Eventbrite. Previously, he worked at The Media Nanny, a PR agency for DJs. When asked about the government’s decision, he says: “Extremely painful for the most beautiful industry there is. But unfortunately necessary. ” Large sponsors will fill in the budget in a different way for so long, but he also expects to come back as soon as there is a vaccine. ‘Major events meet a primal need to gather and enjoy in large numbers. Either way, that will come back. ” Still, the future looks bad for the time being, Bresching said. At least, for the big events. Small events can start again soon and online events are also a good alternative. I also expect creative solutions from many organizations to organize within the new frameworks. The large drive-in festivals that are now being organized in Germany and Belgium are a good example of this. ‘

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