This time last year we were all approaching 2022 with uncertainty. Could COVID still derail the event industry? Are lockdowns truly over? Will events bounce back? Should we put on more staff?
Yes, lockdowns were over and events did bounce back. But finding staff then became an ongoing issue.
And yes COVID was (and is) still a disruptor. I, like many others succumbed and was out of action for two weeks.
Anecdotally 2023 has kicked off with businesses reporting plenty of advance bookings. International conferences returned in the latter half of 2022 and should be back to normal this year.
So just what is “living with COVID” and how will it affect events?
With Sydney festival in full swing I’ve been out and about attending shows (so far the most outstanding have been Amadeus, Room and Antarctica), in most venues many of the staff are wearing masks but very few patrons are. I’ll be interested to see how attendees front up to conferences and expos. Photos shared of music festivals show very few masks – but young people attending them are indestructible, right?
The main issue as I see it will still be around losing staff because they have been struck down and then finding replacement staff at short notice.
Industry events are back.
AIME will be celebrating 30 years at the MCEC 13th to 15th February and they have announced their speaker line up
Pre-COVID, wellbeing was a subtle footnote, but now it’s a prominent keynote and GreenX7 founder, Tim Jack Adams, is leading the way to help move individuals, teams and organisations from surviving to thriving and create cultures of wellness and high performance.
The annual MEA conference, Evolve, returns to the Gold Coast in June.
In other news
The fallout from Katie Noonan’s tenue as Director of the National Folk Festival continues
National Folk Festival hits back at Katie Noonan’s social media spray – Riotact
And for reference here is my article on that festival
Still in Canberra
Meanwhile Elton John said farewell but the Sydney concerts were let down by a poor audio mix. According to Mark Taylor (respected industry technician and former owner of SLATS) on Facebook…
“The mix was shocking. Woeful. There were no vocals in the first four songs. I sat in agony for the first two hours. Not one time in the whole show could you hear the percussion even though you could see it on Imag . The only time you heard the guitar was during a solo. The rest of it was a cacophony. Like a really bad MP3”
And the comments in response to this post were in agreement.
Interesting while researching for comments I found a similar one regarding John’s 2020 concert at the ICC Sydney Super Theatre.
“Sadly the sound quality was rather poor. Very loud, to be sure. But the sound was overblown and there was much distortion. No subtlety in the sound at all and the piano sounded like a kid’s toy xylophone”
With the technology available today there is no excuse for poor sound at a concert, or any event for that matter.
I was very disappointed with the sound at Opera Australia’s open air production of Carmen on Cockatoo Island. It was like playing Where’s Wally. I was seated to the left of the stage right in front of the speaker stack and that is where all the sound came from. It must have been a mono mix because when a soloist sang it took a while to locate them if there were on the opposite side of the stage, because aurally they were on my side. It is not hard to pan the singer to the speakers on the side of stage they are on, and all that can be plotted in advance.
The current production of Moulin Rouge is a great example of how to get audio right (and everything else). Another example of getting it right is Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House where the sound mix included spoken, singing (over quite a range) and live musicians on stage.
And just because an event is outdoors is no excuse.
Finally. If you are heading out to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit (or cat) – enjoy and stay safe.