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31 Jan - 03 Feb 2023

Shaping the live events industry of the future

Stew Hume, Editor of live events magazine TPi, is chairing the new Live Events Summit at ISE 2022. We spoke to him about issues affecting the live events sector as it recovers from lockdown, and some of the topics that will be covered in the Summit.

Creamfields dance festival used a live production workflow built around ATEM production switchers and HyperDeck recorders

Creamfields dance festival used a live production workflow built around ATEM production switchers and HyperDeck recorders

What factors are currently having the largest effect on the live events sector?

One of the major things affecting the live events industry is something that influences every industry around the world – the shortages of raw material used for manufacturing. From a lack of silicon chips to steel, there is not a sector that hasn’t felt the strain. In a recent issue of TPi, we spoke to the team at Audiotonix about this very problem.

In our chat, Audiotonix Group Operations Director Tony Williams described the current situation as a “perfect storm” when it came to manufacturing. An audio desk, for example, has on average 10,000 components – these include everything from steel, aluminium, glass fibre, copper, and gold, all the way to diodes and silicon chips, all of which have had supply issues with ever longer lead times.

Audiotonix’s James Gordon stated: “It is of vital importance that our industry knows of some of these issues. Productions over the years have got used to manufacturers being able to turn around equipment in under two weeks, but right now, no matter who you are, that isn’t possible.”

Away from the manufacturing challenges, one issue that is unique to the live events sector is that of crewing. With the overnight halting of live events back in 2020, thousands of live events crew were suddenly out of work. Many of these very experienced and knowledgeable people from the sector have had to find other forms of income, and now may not return to the industry.

Speaking to any event organiser who has put on a show in the past few months, one common issue is the lack of crew to call upon. The live events industry needs to make a serious, concerted effort to focus on training to ensure that the next generation of crew are able to meet the inevitable demand when events return to full capacity.

Lastly, and although this may be somewhat stating the obvious, COVID is still very much effecting the live events industry. In the UK alone, several large-scale arena tours have been cut short due to key members of the tour contracting COVID-19. There is still an inevitable risk taking an artist and crew out on the road.

What are the key themes being covered in the Live Events Summit?

Despite the worries facing the industry, there is a great deal to be optimistic about. The time in lockdown has seen a great deal of innovation in technology that will bear fruit in the future. In the Live Events Summit, we are focussing primarily on the world of pro audio, touching upon the general trends we are likely to see in the events industry and what artists and audiences are likely to see in the future. The subjects we are covering include: Immersive Audio on Tour, Remote Mixing, Networking, and Touring Sustainably.

How relevant are these themes as we emerge from the pandemic?

Remote mixing and sustainability are some of the most talked-about points as we look to shape the live events industry of the future. Understandably, remote mixing, with an engineer overseeing a show miles away from where the performance is taking place, was vital during the pandemic. The restrictions forced the industry to adapt and progress this technology, but as we see the light at the end of the tunnel, these methods could be utilised to cut the carbon footprint of the live events industry. With bands such as Coldplay being incredibly outspoken about trying to have less of an environmental impact it will be up to those behind to scenes to find the solutions.

Why should a visitor to ISE come to the Live Events Summit?

This will be an ideal opportunity to come and converse with industry experts and to give your two cents on the vision of the live events of the future. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we achieve the best results through collaboration and sharing ideas. So, we welcome all to the Live Events Summit to share their ideas and hopefully spark some innovative ideas.

You want to share your vision of the live industry and spark some innovative ideas? Secure your place at the Live Events Summit here.

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