Interview: Stew Hume, Live Events Summit Chair

Interview: Stew Hume, Live Events Summit Chair
Ahead of the Live Events Summit, chair Stew Hume, editor of TPi magazine, sat down with us to discuss the industry's growing demand and looming challenges. The summit also explores the future of live events through show design and production technologies.

Steve HumeIt’s interesting how each edition of the Live Events Summit has aligned with some major ‘next chapter’ moments for the live events industry. The first summit in 2022 took place after a hard year when many tours were still being cancelled or postponed as each territory dealt with continuously changing regulations and the industry tried to regain some sense of normality. The second edition followed a year of rejuvenation where we saw events return in a massive way, but I’m not sure if anyone would have predicted what we have seen in 2023.

The live events industry has returned to full force, with one of the busiest summer festival seasons to date and numerous A-listers also setting out on ground-breaking, ambitious stadium tours. What’s more, we are seeing demand from fans on an unprecedented scale. The appetite is clearly there, but on the flip side, this has put tremendous strain on the touring industry, which is still dealing with numerous pain points brought about by various global issues. From increased prices of freight and transport to reduced number of local crew in territories around the world, the events sector continues to be hampered by several chronic issues.

As we’ve come to expect from the industry that is built upon the mantra of ‘the show must go on’, these challenges have been overcome in spectacular fashion, with some truly stunning tours making their way around the world in the past 12 months. From Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour to Taylor Swift’s record-breaking The Eras Tour and not forgetting Harry Styles’ Love On Tour, it’s certainly been a great year for stadium-level pop. 2023 has also seen the opening of the Sphere in Las Vegas, with U2’s phenomenal residency taking the ‘live’ experience to a whole new level.

'The appetite for live events is clearly there, but this has also exacerbated tremendous strain on the touring industry caused by global issues.'

In short, it’s a great time to be writing for a magazine that focuses on the technology behind the world’s biggest shows. It’s with this energy that the TPi team and I are excited to once again head to Barcelona at the beginning of 2024 to speak to the manufacturers of some of the technologies used in these incredible productions. In what has become one of our major yearly tradeshow outings, ISE is now a jumping off point to hear about some of the projects to look out for in the coming months alongside our very own TPi Awards, taking place on 24 February in London – two amazing chances for the industry to gather before the madness begins once again.

The theme of the Live Events Summit 2024 will be evaluating what new solutions are available for the tours and events of tomorrow. From breakthroughs in audio technology that enable productions to better ‘control’ noise, through to developments in video solutions, which offer audiences a more immersive experience than ever before. Additionally, there will be a special focus on drone technology and its applications in major large-scale events, drawing inspiration from the Eurovision Song Contest and The Secret Garden Party.

 Alongside these panel discussions, the Summit will welcome several notable production and lighting designers, who will share their insights on the future of show design and discuss the changes and emerging trends within the market.

More will be revealed in the coming weeks on both the ISE and TPi channels, so stay tuned. And if you’re planning on being at ISE early next year, it would be great to see you there at the Summit.

The Live Events Summit runs from 10:30-14:30 on Thursday 1 February in CC5.2. Book your place.

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