In the age of the coronavirus, live events have been severely impacted not only in the short-term but possibly the long-term as well. Despite a myriad of new and unprecedented challenges, one industry expert is confident that a full return is possible with some extra care and safety considerations.
Walter Kinzie, founder and CEO of Encore Live, says that the pandemic presents “unique opportunities” to stage events but still requires the full attention of organizers to keep those involved safe.
“The fact of the matter is, in the world of live events, we’re going to have to take basic things extremely seriously for the foreseeable future, but probably forever,” Kinzie told Fox News. “So restroom sanitation, food and beverage sanitation, general admission areas in general — I think are going to be a unique challenge that we’re going to have to deal with.”
One new concept that has come to the forefront is drive-in concerts which are gradually taking over major stadiums around the country. The shows can effectively keep households socially distant from each other in parked vehicles, while event staff can implement contactless ticket admission and concessions. One Florida music festival has fully embraced the drive-in concept for its 2020 event but Kinzie has offered a new alternative in the meantime.
“They need to look at the overall spend of their attendees and offer a package at home or in a small group of people — maybe we get five or six people together in one little neighborhood in Erie, Penn., that would love to go to Coachella, but they can’t this year. And so let’s send them a package that allows them to spend like they would have spent before,” Kinzie said, adding that festivalgoers not only anticipate a musical lineup but all the sights, sounds, tastes and aromas of events, which should also be presented to fans at home.
“And now, all of a sudden they’ve captured my revenue, they’ve employed their people, they’ve kept their vendors in business and they have potentially opened their doors to not have 100,000 daily fans — they can have a million daily fans,” Kinzie continued. “They can have two million daily fans because you’ve eliminated the barrier of travel and accommodations and all of that stuff that gets in the way of people enjoying these experiences.”
Ongoing innovations with how organizers hold events may need to be yet another new normal facing society. However, the old normal of mass gatherings and live events will return in time, according to Kinzie.
“We will once again gather in stadiums to scream every lyric of a Garth Brooks song. Those days are still in front of us and they will happen. When they happen — who knows? So for right now, I think it would be very responsible for festivals to be incredibly innovative.”