Temporary solutions created by event organizers may become new norm

Virtual events. Source: Anastasia Blur

Among others, the emergency situation has harshly affected the events industry and spontaneous solutions which have cropped up in response to the crisis could remain as the norm for a long time to come.

In Estonia, almost 2,000 people are employed with event organizing every day. Festivals, concerts, plays, conferences, meetings, visits by the heads of countries and family events like weddings, birthdays are included, ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera. Nädal" reported on Sunday.

"We often have about 70 events a day - 70 entries of equipment moving in and out. From bigger events, five previously agreed on Bocelli concerts in Paris, Antwerpen, Amsterdam have been canceled," Estonian event equipment lessee and seller Eventech's owner Aleksander Kartul told AK as examples of recent changes to the company.

Peeter Randväli, the Head of RGB Baltic said:"We have about 1,500 projects a year. A large amount of them take place during spring in May and most of the events have been canceled. Some have been entirely canceled and some postponed to autumn or winter."

He added: "Regarding concerts, the jazz festival Jazzkaar and Tallinn Music Week are scheduled at the moment but they have also been postponed. But if we're are talking about summit conferences, corporative events that have been postponed or canceled, then the Lennart Meri Conference, NATO cyber defense conference, Latitude 59 start-up conference - they are all the bigger events that have usually taken place in spring and given us a heavy workload."

While it was first hoped that by summer, the virus will have been receded and life will get going, now things are not so certain. For example, the government of Saare County said that organizing mass events is forbidden at least until the end of August.

Professor of microbiology at the University of Tartu, Irja Lutsar said: "Probably, we can agree with the conservative view of the Germans. We can definitely say that it's unlikely that something will change dramatically in May or June. We are looking at the summer in two parts: one is May and June and the other is July and August. May and June are easier to predict."

"Maybe we should draw a line what is a mass event and what are smaller events. Maybe the smaller events taking place in the open-air - smaller concerts, theatre plays- can happen. But events that start in the open air and then move inside, I would be skeptical about them," she added.

The coronavirus has forced event organizers to invent new solutions and provide so-called hybrid services to survive.

Kartul said: "When the emergency situation was established, it was a very sad weekend at home but our minds started working and when Lehari Kaustel [CEO, Royal Experience] called to organize a different kind of web seminar, we started to work on the project and a new solution was born. Let's call it a hybrid conference. People liked the idea and we are happy to offer it in the future as well."

Randväli said: "We have built an online studio in our warehouse which has been rebuilt a couple of times. Because the online events are so different, we have planned to divide them into two different parts. One is mainly for training programs, seminars and conferences and the other for live musicians."

He added: "At the beginning of the crisis, we did a live concert with the band Metsatöll which lasted for 90 minutes which was mainly directed to the American market because their tour was canceled and fans were still wanting to see them. It was a great concert."

Temporary studios have been set up in Kultuurikatel and the Alexela concert hall.

"The first studio was built in four to five hours but then we understood that is not what we want, we don't want to encapsulate it in our warehouses. There are venues for events that are without clients and during these rough times we need to be there for them and events need to continue taking place in venues made for events," Kartul said.

The organizers believe the new forms of work the virus has forced them to invent can become the norm in the future.

"There are restrictions on traveling and many artists don't want to or can't come here. We are trying to develop a team and teach them about new directions. I am sure these things will stay in use for the time being. Some artists and moderators will be taking place on the spot and some virtually," Kartul explained.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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