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What It Means When You Take It All Away

With the shutdown of our industry, there are a lot of us feeling worried, unsure, even angry right now. And that is fair, and natural.

So please don’t get me wrong – I am with you on that, but, in the spirit of taking good from the bad – what can we take away from all this – that may help us in future?

Seeing the Value in what we do

We sometimes struggle to explain the value of the work we do, in meaningful, tangible ways.  But sometimes, it is when you take something away, the value of it becomes more than evident.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone“

Watching sports played from stadiums with no-one there (and in fact sitting in a stadium with no fans), has been a provocative, tangible, reminder of the fundamental role fans play in making the event what it is.

Whilst events are about the sport or the performers at its core, it is fans that provide the energy, the atmosphere, the event. And without their emotion, noise, movement and interaction, it is a stark reminder of what our events provide.

The contrast is a valuable reminder of what makes events what they are. An immensely valuable shared experience.

At the core events are about the athletes and performers, however, the product we produce and broadcast, the content we share, the experiences we provide, all need people in attendance, to make them what they are.

The Value of what You do

Having been involved in some events that have had to close the gates, and being in venues where no one is there, it is a surreal reminder of the influence fans have on contributing to the experience. It is on occasions like this, we can see the value of the work we do. What we do to organise and galvanise, to bring together our fans to attend and engage with our events.

It feeds the athletes and performers, it feeds the audience, and without it, it’s all a bit raw.

Taking it All away

So we’ve seen events without audiences, and of course, even more events have been cancelled entirely.

The Value of Shared Experiences

Ironically the removal of something completely can also help us can see the importance of the work we do, the value of providing experiences, and in bringing people together.

The Value to Us all

As we’ve been a reminder in recent times, people, communities, and organisations have turned to events to come together for support and to drive solutions.

So removing public gatherings, to share our interests, and to celebrate the things we love leaves a hole in our lifestyles, and in our lives.

The removal of Grand Prix’s, National Leagues and Saturday sports, Comedy, Cultural and Community Festivals – is understandable in the current environment – but without them, you can already get a sense of the fundamental role these events play in our lives. Extrapolate that across a few months, and we will really understand the role, and value of events in our communities, societies, and economies.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Theodor Seuss Geisel

Events in our lives

Removing events from our lives will demonstrate the role they play, and the desire that we have for them.

At least 8 in every 10 Australians attended a cultural event last year, and around half of all Australians attended a sports event, and, performing arts events. 9 in every 10 Millennials attended a live event, and 83% feel that live events make them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world. 

– ABS & EventBrite

We see different trends come and go from our events industry. But one thing will remain, the need for people to come together.

People need events, especially after times this like this, and they always will. 

So while events were defined as ‘non-essential gatherings’, gatherings are essential.

Never forget – this industry has a fundamental reason to exist!

People have always needed to gather, and in today’s world, it is still the most necessary way to share our interests and beliefs. And never before has the world needed social connection as much as we do now, physically not just online.

And so, once the need for non-gatherings passes, once again people will be drawn to events, and perhaps more so than ever before. Some other industries struggle to come back from adversity, from crisis situations, but as we offer a fundamental human need, to connect and to come together, we will survive, and grow again. People may not spend on non-essential goods, but I have no doubt they will invest their time, and money, back into events.

But what does it mean for you right now?

Obviously, in these circumstances, we are all thinking, what does this mean for me, my team, and our organisations… and that is fair and correct, we should all look at what this means, both now and long term, and get some plans in place to minimise the impact, and then be ready to maximise the opportunities as we come out of this.

The impact

Some tough, tough decisions are being made right now. The impact of which has ripple effects galore, knock-on effects for many. This whole situation is a case of understanding risks, the likelihood and impact of things occurring, and what it means for you. From health, commercial, community, and personal perspective. There are some tough decisions that need to be made, with some facts to inform us, and some estimation, so it’s important we, and you, think about the likelihood of various scenarios, and the impact should they occur.

And we should be talking to each other on what this means, and looking to others for that support. Events are cancelled, most of us are working from home, so it is unfortunate that in this situation that we aren’t able to come together physically, but we can still support each other.

The Value of leadership

Events are naturally a public display of our plans as organisations, our intentions as communities. People look to organisations to take a lead, and events have always been the public face of our organisations. So what you do with these, and around these, will be a defining action in this phase of our world.

We say, ‘it’s the way you respond that matters’. But it really is, the way you respond that matters.

We will all have difficult decisions, conversations in the coming days, and so it is worth being prepared for these, leaning in and knowing how you want to be, and what you need from these situations, is critical.

Making the tough calls – with all things considered.

Mona founder David Walsh spoke honesty and authentically when making the decision of “killing Dark Mofo for the year”. He well knows the value of events, and the inverse of that – the fact they affect many people – can be equally influential – and the impact these decisions will have.

“I know that will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice,” Walsh said in a statement. “Right now, … (we) are on the hook for $2 million to run Dark Mofo. That’s bad. What’s worse, as far as I’m concerned, is that if we ran Dark and nobody came, I’d lose $5 million or more, because I would have to cover the absent ticket revenue.” Walsh then conceded he would rather be “a rich coward than a poor hero”.

Making the right calls, at the right time. From what we currently know.

“I’m pouring cold water on Dark Mofo while there’s still water to pour,” Walsh said on his decision. “It’s likely that nothing will happen. June will roll up, COVID-19 will die down, and I’ll look (more) like a fool for having cancelled. But that’s the best thing that could happen”.

“So we’ll see you next year.”

This is not business as usual. But it will be again, sometime soon.

For now, it’s worth thinking through what we can learn from this, and how you want to go about it.

How can you best support yourself, and the team around you?

How can we use this time to best effect?

Looking back in 3 months time, what would I like to have done right now?

Perhaps we will be able to take these learning’s and make it better together in future.

Where the value of our events will be even greater.

If I can help with any of that, please just let me know…

Take care! AOL

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