Updated: May 15, 2020
For the past 12 years, special events have been second nature to me. As owner, of Celebrity Style Events (www.CelebrityStyleEvent.com) the summer season has always been my busiest season and with summer now approaching it seems as if I will be anything but busy.
((Photos by @digable_sid))
Our company produces large scale events such as festivals, concerts, expos and weddings.
After seeing the seriousness of the virus, and currently expecting my second child as pregnant women are at a higher risk for contracting the virus. We decided to cancel all our 2020 summer events. However, as a full time event planner you can't help but wonder what is the future for large scale events and mass gatherings?
When I first heard the news of the postponement of Coachchella, a festival that brings in a little over a billion dollars each year over the span of two weeks, I knew this was going to be a bigger issue than we were all imagining. Then, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stated “large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events may not be approved in the city for at least one year." - OH MY!!
Many events went virtual through streaming companies like Zoom, which is great for conferences. However, for festivals and weddings that celebrate culture and coming together it would be difficult to present that authentic feeling through telecommunication.
So again I ask myself, what now?
According to a guideline from the United States government entitled "Opening America Again", they have suggested.
Social distancing and protective equipment
Temperature checks and other testing
Isolating, and contact tracing
Sanitation and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
Policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following positive coronavirus tests
Also, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has suggested...
Meet with the emergency operations coordinator or planning team for your venues to discuss and note lessons learned. Gather feedback from event staff, participants (if possible), community partners, and stakeholders to improve plans. Identify any gaps in the plans and any needs you may have for additional resources.
Maintain and expand your planning team. Look for ways to expand community partnerships. Identify agencies or partners needed to help you prepare for infectious disease outbreaks in the future and try to add them to your planning team.
Participate in community-wide emergency preparedness activities.
Another great point Julius Solaris mentioned in the article entitled "What Post Corona-Virus Events Look Like" is Insurance & Thermal Scanning.
Now, Insurance is something I have on every event I produce. However, the article suggests adding clauses to the policy in case an attendee or staff member contracts the virus.
The article also suggests, that you should consider choosing a venue that offers Thermal Scanning. However, I can't imagine being at a event where they begin turning folks away because they have a fever and a vaccine is 12-18 months away.
I took a deep look into the events I plan, let's take a festival I produce; Columbus Food & Wine Festival in which 12,000 people attended in 2019. Keep in mind 12,000 is a smaller number for larger festivals and concerts.
Imagine having 12,000 people at one event and 200 of those people are infected. Now you have 200 people using the same restrooms, ATM's, exchanging money, sitting in chairs, shaking hands and eating food amongst those that are not infected. Heaven forbid your an artist performing and a infected fan rushed the stage to grab your hand.
In every article I am reading on the future of mass gatherings, the one solution is a vaccine.
How do you see a change in the future of mass gatherings without a vaccine? Share your thoughts...