February 24, 2015

Event Production Show Wrap-up

We were treated to many fantastic panels, were involved in many discussions and met some of the finest within the events world. It’s safe to say, we had a great time.

The ticketscript crew gathered early on Wednesday 18 February at Olympia well prepared and eager for the Event Production Show and International Confex. We were also met by awesome nitrogen ice creams, talented masseurs and churros to die for.

As you can see from the social media posts, we had a great time mingling and talking with industry experts such as Zac Fox and Wayne Hemingway. Here\’s a look at some of our favourite talks and panels:

Panel: Practical Solutions for Integrating Social Media Into Your Event Experience (David Chalmers – CVENT, Michael Piddock – Glisser, Michael Barnett – InGo)

Being tech and social enthusiasts here at ticketscript we couldn’t stray too far from this talk. We’re always seeking ways to improve our and our customers’ social presence. This talk was very insightful, especially when we indulged in the Q&A part of it.

Firstly, we learnt the importance of quality and relevant content, and how the content you create throughout the day ensures people want to stay. It’s important to think about how you’d encourage people to socialise it.

Secondly, we posed the question: ‘With Facebook now being paid media how do you propose small/medium organisations tackle this?’
Unless you’re a fortune 500 company and have a bunch of cash in your pockets it is extremely hard to get acknowledged on Facebook these days. The panel provided us with a very helpful answer, in which they said we need to turn our current audience into advocates. The way to go about this is by using social tools, such as Influitive (if you’re an event organiser) and/or Hootsuite. This will help you find those influencers – those who love what you do and want to share it with other people. It’s also important to reward these guys with giveaways and show your appreciation. You shouldn’t have to spend hours trying to figure out all the marketing. esday 18th February

‘How Important are Opening and Closing Ceremonies to the Cultural Heritage and Legacy of Large Sporting Events?’

Piers Shepperd from Wonderwork kicked off Event Production Show with a stimulating discussion on ‘‘How important are Opening and Closing Ceremonies to the cultural heritage and legacy of large Sporting Events?’.

Panelists included David Zolkwer of Jack Morton Worldwide (Glasgow Commonwealth Games), Georgina Warren of London & Partners, Mik Auckland of Red Thread (2000 Sydney Olympic Games) and Andrea Varnier of Filmmaster via Skype from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, working hard in planning next years extravaganza.

Talks revolved around favourite opening ceremonies, if its necessary for large scale budgets for openings, ways to differentiate one opening from another and more. Here’s what we learnt:

There were differing opinions on whether cultural themes should have an international or national flavour. While there were conflicted thoughts on how the target audience should be defined, the general feeling was to target the residents of the home city for Olympic Games. The basis of having a travelling Olympic Games every 4 years was for education and inspiration, and for this reason targeting locals should be made a priority since the lasting legacy lives on through the locals. By doing so, it “serves as a differentiator” and by doing so, makes each event individually identifiable. For example, “At London 2012, we poked fun out of our eccentricities. It’s celebrating human endeavour and creating moments”.

If you haven’t checked it out already, take a look at what some of the favourite opening ceremonies were from ticketscript’s London staff.

Question Time: What Will 2015 Bring?

Speakers included Roger Barrett, Director of Star Events Group, Bryan Grant, Director at Britannia Row and Mike Richmond, Director of Richmond Event Management, Jo Mackay, Director of Larmac Live.

With a new year comes a new year of predictions. We discussed T in the Park’s change of location to Strathallan Castle this year, after its 18-year residency at Balado, and what implications this has. Overall, the panel – especially Jo Mackay – is looking forward to seeing how the festival takes shape at the new location.

Creativity and technology were two themes that stood out for 2015. With the gentrification of festivals, people treating these more as holidays and immersing themselves in the experience, so we should be providing them with a better quality experience – from food to production. It’s about getting creative!

Technology will become more integrated into events than previous years, to the point it will become invisible. Cashless payments was a key topic, especially without the need of wi-fi connectivity. The overall conclusion was that this will be a step-by-step process as we’re a cash society.

As with any panel regarding the events industry safety was a big topic. Mike Richard brought a light-hearted approach to the subject, stating we should make safety a bit more fun rather than all doom and gloom. Event organisers and production companies shouldn’t be afraid of all the agencies and regulations. Richard further went on to say that the industry has come a long way from the late 1990s and we need to keep this good practice going – we just need to get a balance between creativity, practicality and safety.

There’s More to Festivals Than the Bands!

The final talk on day one was revealing, insightful and entertaining. Speakers included Paul Reid of AIF, John Finch & Ben Merrington of Grillstock and Simon Foreshaw from Metropolis Music. Festival aesthetics, experiential activities and festival marketing were all talked about, and here’s what we gathered:

All on stage agreed that visitors ‘experience is the most important thing. It’s not about headliners, it’s the right music for the right crowd, rever lose the identity of your audience’. Organisers must have speed of service/efficiency, but you have to make it bespoke to what people want and like. This is not simply related to artists/bands, but also for food & drink.

Fans like to ‘escape from reality, its what festivals are meant to do’ – build a theme around it. Marketing has become increasingly expanding and evolving to the point its year round and at your fingertips. All you need is good planning and research and you can market smarter and faster.

Experiential activities at events is due to continue, and grow. Whether that’s having hot tubs on one side, ravers section on another, food trucks on another side. You want to make the audience feel to feel part of an experience.

Aesthetics also play a part in a memorable event. Make the entrance / stage special. From bubbles, glitter to confetti (best to check health and safety prior), the minute attendees come in, to the minute attendees visitors leave, make it memorable.

In terms of marketing, the little things make a difference. For example, post photos and videos of your previous event during months where your event is inactive. It’s a great way to remind your audience what the show sounds like, what you stand for.

For ideas and tips to incorporate sponsorships at your next event, we’ve got two blogs which you’ll like:

Day Two – Thursday 19th February

The Gentrification of Festivals – Good or Bad for the Industry (Wayne Hemingway, Harvey Goldsmith, Justin Clarke – Taste Festivals, Dan Walsh – Full Fat.) 

Day Two started with the talks of all talks. The Main Stage was fully packed, with everyone eagerly awaiting the start of the heated topic regarding the gentrification of festivals. Wayne Hemingway started the discussion by taking us through what gentrification means for festivals. As he rightly pointed out, it shouldn’t be about a secluded VIP area with great facilities looking out at the festivals. It’s about bringing people facilities that would add to the festival experience – whether that’s good quality food or more showers.

Harvey Goldsmith went to add that the demise of rock acts in the UK has changed the dynamics of the festival industry – as the focus has shifted from the headliner acts to providing quality and an experience. He further stated that festivals should increase the value of the experience without need to increase the price of the ticket.

When it comes to visitor experience, Justin Clarke, who surprisingly has never gone to a festival in his teens, commented on the fact that this starts from the moment they purchase a ticket to the second they leave the festival.

Dan Walsh argued that the more choice people have, the more festivals are forced to think about their identity, breaking down the homogenisation of festivals and creating festivals for different interests. He concluded by saying that the appetite for live events to satisfy all interests is bigger than ever. People want value for their money and a good experience.

Fest Factor Final

The Fest Factor welcomed young aspiring organisers wishing to pitch their event concept to a panel of experts, in order to make their idea a reality. The content was remarkably surprising, as contestants looked to find problems in the world and use their events to solve them. Not only did they stop there, but some even sought to make use of the technical wonders we have available to us today.

Contestant, Joanna Griffith, especially stood out, as she conceptualised an event that sought to improve a torn down London community and provide the unemployed with jobs and enhance, as well as acknowledge their skills. This event focused on bringing a community together to work towards a better lifestyle.

Event Technology Challenged – Holographs and Projection Mapping (Maria Schuett – Central Hall Westminster, Matt Green – Broadsword Production Group, Ian O’Connell – Musion Events)

“What it (holographs) can do is make a good story sensational”. Holographs are primarily effective once gelled with a creative idea. “The more creative you are, the greater the impact you’ll make”. Here’s an example of an excellently utilised creative idea using holographic technology: 

Everybody remembers the famous Tupac holograph, however a little known fact about the ‘resurrection’ Tupac was it caused “an almighty fuss” in russia with orthodox catholics who were offended by the use of the word ‘Resurrection’. However what can’t be doubted is that we are addicted to bringing the past to life, “we are obsessed with retro, cars and music. You name it”. With that being said, the trend is set to blossom throughout the year.

Of course, we at ticketscript knew of the rising use of holograms. Check out what other trends we predicted for 2015:

Wearable Technologies (Dina Scaglione – Switchray.com)

The primary questions that surfaced conversation in this panel were about the tools we would use to help us instead of distract and what would aid in building relationships at events. We were first introduced to Google Glass, a piece of tech said to help untether and better engage.

As one panelist mentioned, “We continually push the barriers of technology. We are adding things to our body. We are becoming very technological, as people.” Controversial yes, however its logical with stats such as “we look at our smart devices 200 times a day” and “10 million smart watches have been pre ordered”.

Smart technology, such as RFID wristbands and smart badges are technologies that will enhance the users experience, as well as allow people to better network and acquaint with like minded people.

The increasing obsession with second screen tools is also scheduled to continue. Also, while it may not become mainstream in 2015, projections show in 2016 we will see much more virtual reality.

Raj Jilka