The Future of Large Events

 

large events
Innovative seating platforms at the Virgin Money Unity Arena for the U.K.’s first socially distanced live concert since COVID.

Three recent happenings offer a glimpse into the future of large events in the COVID era.

Wondering what the future of large events will look like in COVID times? Check out these examples.

U.K.’s First Socially Distanced Concert

The Virgin Money Unity Arena, a new pop-up venue and the U.K.’s first socially distanced concert venue, drew 2,500 fans to a Sam Fender concert last week—for what organizers described as the UK’s first socially distanced concert. Other musicians including Van Morrison are set to play the venue later this year.

The distancing begins at arrival, with cars parked 6 feet apart. Concert-goers were given their own platformed private viewing areas, and food and drink were available beforehand or via an app.

Together Again Expo

large events
The Together Again Expo at the Orange County Convention Center attracted 1,400 live participants.

The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando hosted the Together Again Expo in late July with 1,400 live event participants and 8,225 virtual attendees—setting the stage for restarting meetings during the pandemic. The event’s organizer, Alliance Nationwide Exposition, provides COVID-19 testing at live events nationwide.

Exhibitors ranged from companies selling sanitization and safety equipment to local attractions, such as Sea World. The hybrid event allowed attendees and speakers to either participate on-site or virtually.

“We listened to our customers and attendees,” said Mark Yuska, founder and president of Alliance Nationwide Exposition. “They want to get back to live events as soon as possible, and they wish to do so in a safe and responsible way.”

 

South Korean Baseball

large events
Jamsil Baseball Stadium in South Korea

South Korea just allowed baseball fans to return to the stands, as health authorities outlined a phased process to bring back spectators for other professional sports as well, including professional soccer and golf tournaments.

Only 10 percent of the seats are sold for each game to enforce social distancing. Fans are screened for fevers and required to sit apart and wear masks. They are also banned from eating food and drinking beer, and discouraged from excessive shouting, singing and cheering. Fans are registered via smartphone QR codes so they can be located if needed.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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