The organisers of the 2020 Knight of Illumination (KOI) Awards in both the UK and the USA have announced the cancellation of both events due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entertainment industry.
The difficult decision has been reached following extensive discussions between the committees of both the UK and US versions of the KOI Awards: The Fifth Estate and KOI co-founders Durham and Jennie Marenghi, along with the ALD and STLD in the UK and Live Design/LDI in the USA.
All parties explored various possible options to secure the events, including virtual, live streamed/webcast ceremonies and postponed or scaled-back ceremonies. However, these ideas were ultimately deemed not to be viable for 2020.
KOI-UK and KOI-USA Executive Committee member Sarah Rushton-Read of The Fifth Estate commented: “This has been a challenging decision, given the unpredictable nature of this global crisis, which has hit the KOI community very hard. Many have lost their businesses, their employment, their sources of income. Skilled creatives are taking jobs in other sectors and others are retraining. Many have no idea when, or in what capacity, they might return. While we have every faith that the industry will bounce back, it will be a different landscape for some time to come.”
She added: “We believe the KOI Awards mission is to bring a meaningful value to the lighting and video design community by providing independent design awards, judged by respected critics and experts. Just as importantly, it provides a valuable opportunity for the whole lighting and video community, across theatre, events, live music and television, to acknowledge and celebrate their creative achievements, and this is something we feel is important to uphold and protect.”
Durham and Jennie Marenghi commented: “Having spoken to many sponsors who struggle to see the benefit of an online Awards, and to many designers who fail to see how they could connect online with hundreds of their peers, the KOI Executive Committee has decided that it would be inappropriate to consider any form of KOI Awards this year. We feel that this is the only sensible decision available to us. KOI is, in essence, a social event and we feel it would be difficult to connect our community in any meaningful way until we can all be together again in the same room.”
Marian Sandberg, Market Leader at Live Design, said: “This was a tough decision for everyone who works on the USA version of KOI through LDI and Live Design. Ultimately, trying to produce an alternate version of the KOI Awards ceremony during these difficult times didn’t seem appropriate. We will look for other ways to honour the discipline of design this year directly through LDI and Live Design, and we all look forward to re-joining The Fifth Estate, the KOI committee, our lighting and video designers and our sponsors next year to come back in full force.”
The KOI-UK and KOI-USA committees are promising that this year’s nominations will be amalgamated into the 2021 Awards. “We would like to thank our judges who had committed to support the KOI Awards in whatever guise we felt appropriate this year,” Durham Marenghi continued. “Stay safe and we will all meet once more on the other side of this pandemic.”
Rushton-Read concluded: “I for one will certainly miss the thrill of seeing many of the top creatives in these fields come together in one magnificent room for one fabulously glamorous night to celebrate each other’s work, and always with such generous curiosity. We would like to thank all our wonderful suppliers, whose businesses are also entirely focused on the live event industry, for their empathy and support, which has been generous and heart-warming. Thank you to the teams at Hammersmith Apollo, Hawthorn, Party Ingredients, FIX8 and Transition Video, all of whom have lost valuable income not just from our event but from multiple events globally.”
The organising teams had pursued the possibilities of virtual events in partnership with a number of companies, and wish to thank Creative Technology, Hawthorn, SXS and White Light for taking the time to discuss technical solutions. KOI-UK was due to take place in London in September 2020, and KOI-USA in Las Vegas in October. Both events will announce plans for 2021 ceremonies in due course.