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Hot summer of the year 2021: forecasts from the leading festival and concert managers of the country

Aleksei Akimov, CEO of event agency “Idealsecrets”, Partner & CСO of the marketing company Superheroes.ua, who has organized over 500 various events with his team for more than 20 years: starting with the first solo concert of Svetlana Loboda to Mercedes-Benz Star Experience, tells how the event-industry is reviving after quarantine.

The 2020 quarantine restrictions have affected the mass event industry severely. According to the most meager estimates, the Ukrainian entertainment segment lost about 1 billion hryvnias, and 250,000 industry professionals were deprived of their main source of income for at least 8 months. To say that such a situation has transformed the market is simply to say nothing. But what is going on now and what we are likely to expect in the near future? I collected comments, opinions, and forecasts of my colleagues, leading representatives of Event and Entertainment of Ukraine, to create a true picture.

Is it possible to organize something without money?

It is hardly surprising that the vast majority of mass events are supported by sponsors and partners. Thus, 7 out of 10 festivals are held with third-party funding ranging from 30% to 95%. For companies it is cool branding, for festivals it is the foundation to launch. Unfortunately, the pandemic has reduced an average of 8-19% of revenues of leading companies in the market. What is better: to invest or to rely on yourself?

Yevgen Lysenko (Chief MC)

Co-founder & CTO of Concert.ua

“We have not relied on sponsorship budgets for a long time. We expect the event to be self-sufficient.”

Roman Tugashev

founder of festivals “Ulichnaya eda” and “White Nights”

“It’s a well-known fact that business has suffered losses globally. Therefore, there will be few sponsors at the festival. Nevertheless, we are deeply grateful to those who have joined us this year. These are Pernod Ricard, Mastercard, and Privatbank”.

The rough market analytics shows that 65% of sponsors have lost assets today due to the cancellation of postponed events in 2020. On one hand, it is not a positive situation for the market. On the other hand, now the market is becoming something like a litmus test which means that really valuable and interesting events will be promoted only with the help of the idea and demand, based only on their own minor investments.

Planned and new entertainment events are to happen!

Despite the uncertain situation with the partnership, the leading managers and concert venues unanimously say that this summer they are going to violate the atmosphere of comfort and launch well-known or new events. Therefore, the following events have been already announced:

Made With Love and Rhythm by MONATIK on July, 3 – 31;  

Ukraine Gastro Show on June, 17;

International Hospitality Conference on June,18;

International Hospitality Awards on June, 19;

Leopolis Jazz Fest on June, 24 – 28;

TULUM festival of art, music and gastronomy in June and August;

Festival Be Wine NEW on September, 4-5; 

Barometer International Bar Show on September, 24 – 26; 

Festival Don’t Take Fake in September. 

And these are only those which have been heard about and promoted actively in the fan groups. There are hundreds of other narrower and smaller ones.

Although a number of projects have been postponed from spring to summer because of quarantine restrictions, the escalation in the industry is only increasing because a lot of industry members are no longer ready to give up positions already lost over the past year. So, these volunteers will be the first to experience themselves if the market still needs offline events and how it will work under quarantine restrictions.

Re-orientation to Ukrainian experts and actors is the main trend of 2021

By the way, a few words about quarantine. According to Worldometers, Ukraine is still in the TOP-20 in terms of the complexity of the situation with Covid-19 and naturally, it affects the list of stars at the events. The event industry is divided into two significant groups. One of them supports the idea to bring an expert whatever it takes to while the second group thinks about finding a new one “made in Ukraine”. Here are some illustrative examples of my colleagues:

Vladimir Kaminskiy,

Production manager

Leopolis Jazz Fest

“As during all the previous years, foreign singers constitute more than a half of the festival participants. Due to Ukraine’s inclusion in the “black list”, singers after visiting our country have to stick to the regulations and to self-quarantine for 14 days regardless of vaccination and testing. Let’s imagine their tight schedules after the pandemic and the desire to reach the same level in terms of the number of events. Of course, not everyone will agree. There are additional questions concerning preventive measures. A lot of effort is needed to communicate with managers. Nevertheless, Line Up has been approved, and preparations are going on according to the plan.”

Andrey Skipyan

President of the Hoteliero Club of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs,

founder of National Restaurant Award SALT®

“Currently, it is quite difficult for speakers from other countries to make decisions and it is especially true for guests from the UK and Italy. Many of them refuse from already planned projects. In June, the situation must improve due to an increase in the number of vaccinated people and changes in travel requirements for citizens from other countries. Therefore, to minimize risks, we have focused on experts and speakers from Ukraine so far. Thanks to this situation, we have seen new talents in our country, and we are going to continue developing experts (speakers) from Ukraine.”

Roman Tugashev,

founder of festivals “Ulichnaya eda” and  “White Nights” 

“The headliners of TULUM festival “White Nights” held in June are WhoMadeWho, dOP and Kerala Dust. It is much more difficult to conclude contracts and transfer guests this year. However, our promoters have always been good at building logistics, so there is no doubt that they will arrange everything.”

The organizers are confident in success, although the current situation is a bit depressing. Although organizing speakers is only one side of the coin.

The scale vs quarantine restrictions: how do organizers find the way out?

The key question is the target audience of the events. The situation with coronavirus is unstable. While some people are eager to get to cool locations and interesting events, others are afraid of public activity. In addition, a negative fact is that there is controversial information about the requirements concerning Covid-19 tests.

Needless to say, more than 30% of occasional events have moved online, and the audience now is not always ready to get out of a cozy home chair to get new emotions.  At the same time, football events have already shown a record attendance in Ukraine, comparing years 2020 and 2021. Is it a promising trend? As for now, the statistics of ticket sales is quite positive and this fact lifts the spirits.

Yevgen Lysenko (Chief MC)

Co-founder & CTO of Concert.ua

“We expect to welcome 15 thousand people at our events, but we hope their number will be even higher. We became the first event company in Ukraine to start using stewards at concerts and festivals about 15 years ago. The stewards monitor comfort and safety of visitors. Compliance with quarantine regulations and restrictions will also be their duty (and not only theirs). We also take into account requirements when constructing a site. However, providing the test is not mandatory according to quarantine restrictions. Now there is a discussion with the Chief State Sanitary Doctor on the possibility of introducing mandatory testing of visitors in order to remove quarantine restrictions on attending events.

Roman Tugashev

founder of festivals “Ulichnaya eda” and “White Nights”

“Only 4 thousand visitors will stay at the area of ​​15 thousand square meters in the open air. The distancing will include both the distance between the lounge chairs and a sufficient area of ​​the dance floor. The temperature will be checked at the entrance. There will be checkpoints with sanitizers and masks throughout the territory and the location will be disinfected before the event. In addition, we have started to use the cashless system this year. Payment by cards has been a convenient scheme for ages and now it is especially important because it is contactless. As for the testing, before the event, it will be done by all teams and participants of the festival. We do not have the right to force visitors to do it, but currently we are negotiating with partners and will make an offer for the festival guests soon.”

Andrey Skipyan

President of the Hoteliero Club of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs,

founder of National Restaurant Award SALT®

“Project budgets include expenditure items on antiseptics, masks, temperature control at the entrance, social distance marks, and printing the rules of staying at the event for guests. It is very important to inform visitors about safety rules and regulations in advance. We are considering the possibility of arraigning “quick tests” for guests and participants for events of more than 700 people.”

If football fans have not been stopped with such restrictions (look at the attendance records of stadiums), will they stop fans, for example, of street culture, as at the DON’T TAKE FAKE festival?

Aleksandr Sattarov

Co-founder of Don’t Take Fake Festival

“It’s easier to work in the BTL market: it’s much easier to adjust to the restrictions, segment the audience, focus on the right people and work with them at relatively closed and controlled sites”.

We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst

Members of the Event and Entertainment industry of Ukraine wonder what will happen if there is low attendance this summer or there is the third wave of the virus with all the consequences? The strongest and the most persistent people are preparing “Plan B”, while others are preparing ideas how to solve two problems which go together, the spread of Covid-19 and the permission to hold mass events.

Andrey Skipyan

President of the Hoteliero Club of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs,

founder of National Restaurant Award SALT®

“Plan B” is always worse than “Plan A”. Preparations for our events usually last at least for 6 months, and preparations for large events are going on all year round. So, we will not be able to postpone big events for a short time, and we will have to postpone them for a whole year.”

Aleksandr Sattarov

Co-founder of Don’t Take Fake Festival

“In my opinion, it would be better for the authorities to use the events as a communication platform for vaccination. Everyone is very tired of restrictions, and after the end of the lockdown, people behave as if they have already got over the pandemic. And we understand perfectly well what it could lead to.”

Obviously, event organizers will be ready to return the money and postpone tickets to next year even with the increase of their rank. At the same time, many micro-events will not have a second chance if they lose everything now. Therefore, to open this hot summer season is the best solution, because all resources and ideas have already been implemented.

Source: MMR

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