RISE Spotlight: Live Events Experiences, Reimagined

TPi’s Stew Hume hosts a panel discussing live events in the digital realm at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) RISE Spotlight.

Produced by The Next Web (TNW), the fourth edition of Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) RISE Spotlight saw a number of industry insiders gather – virtually – to get to grips with Live Events Experiences, Reinvented. With the live events sector in such a fragile and precarious condition due to the uncertain future of mass gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic – artists, managers and show creators are finding new ways to provide content to global audiences. As part of ISE’s latest online offering, TPi Editor, Stew Hume assembled a panel of experts to find out more.

Following opening remarks from TNW, AVIXA Senior Director Market Intelligence, Sean Wargo, presented high-level data illustrating how the live events industry was hit in 2020 and what the recovery is expected to look like.

Afterwards, a segment aptly titled Start Up Nations saw TheLynk Founder, Yvan Boudillet and Tom Wilson of Seedcamp, walk through the latest trends in the changing events market. Boudillet provided an overview of the recent progressions in the music industry, including artists’ greater reliance on streaming platforms – referencing Matt Heafy of Trivium adopting Twitch to engage his fans and several examples of artists transitioning into the video game sphere. Meanwhile, Wilson provided an insight into some of the tech start-ups and digital platforms enabling show creators to keep their events alive during this trying time.

Next up, TPi took to the floor to bring together a roundtable of experts who have all played their part in live music’s movement online during 2020. The panel comprised ACT Management Director and Driift CEO, Ric Salmon; Show Designer and Creative Director, Emma Bull; and Co-Director of Lost Horizon, Robin Collings.

Salmon described how 2020 had brought about a sizeable challenge as the team from Driift. Once events were forced to close, his team sought a way of producing innovative, high-quality streamed concerts. Starting with Laura Marling’s Union Chapel performance [see TPi edition #251], since then, the company has gone from to strength to strength, putting on shows for the likes of Nick Cave, Biffy Clyro [TPi #254] and Niall Horan [TPi #257] – which Salmon used as proof that there is a future for this style of performance. Emma Bull, who held the title of Lighting and Show Designer for Horan’s Royal Albert Hall performance, spoke of how this developing format opened so many more creative opportunities than a traditional filming of a live show.

As well as an in-depth chat about the possibilities of streamed performances, Collings discussed how his Lost Horizon event [TPi #252], which took place last summer, created an entire virtual festival experience within the Sensar platform. Devised by the same creative team responsible for Glastonbury’s legendary Shangri-La, Collings explained the importance of replicating the vibe of an in-person festival experience and how this translated to the platform.

Following the roundtable, TPi grabbed some time with Production Manager, Wob Roberts. During the interview, the PM provided an insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the global touring community and how he has been spending his time during lockdown – specifically helping form the Touring Production Group (TPG). A collection of industry experts, the TPG has spent a great deal of time creating COVID-19 compliant safety show guidelines and evaluating how the events industry can be better equipped to handle working conditions.

With the TPi section of the event coming to a close, the event then split off into two separate panel conversations. The first saw Matthew Thompson of AV Team UK and Sean Wargo of AVIXA discuss how AV companies in live events have responded to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and what long-term changes the industry should expect.

Women in Live Music CEO, Malle Kaas discussed the issue of Diversity Backstage. Bringing together fellow members from the organisation, Alanna Pepin-Danissen and Sana Romanos, the collective examined some of the issues they and colleagues experience in a sector that is historically male-centric. The panel also presented a change to present findings from its recent report, Pregnancy and Motherhood in the Live Music Industry, which uncovered how women relate to and experience pregnancy and motherhood combined with a career within the live music industry.

ISE Managing Director, Mike Blackman gave his thoughts on the latest RISE event: “We were very pleased to work with TPi for the February episode of RISE Spotlight, tackling the subject of the digitisation of live events. As subject matter experts, TPi were very well placed to provide stimulating discussions for both the Roundtable and On the Sofa segments,” he said. “The panel, moderated by TPi’s Editor Stew Hume, had really well-chosen speakers who have created new online and virtual events during the pandemic and contributed to a fascinating discussion. On the Sofa with Wob Roberts was eye-opening as well as being thought-provoking as to the challenges the live events industry is facing.”

He concluded: “We look forward to continuing to work with Stew and the rest of the team at Mondiale Media and are  proud to once again be sponsoring the forthcoming TPi Awards.”

Recordings of the sessions and supporting articles will be live on the RISE Spotlight website with the next RISE event will take place on 9 March and will focus on Smart Buildings.

This article originally appeared in issue #258 of TPi, which you can read here.

Photo: ISE