Two weeks on from the UK’s first mask-free event we reflect on what that means for the future of in-person events.
As you may have already heard across the news, Government-led pilot events have been taking place across the country with Liverpool leading the way hosting several in-person events.
We were lucky enough to be part of the audience for The Good Business Festival (TGBF), which was the first in-person business conference as part of the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).
The pilot business event called ‘Change Business for Good’ took place on 28 April 2021, with some 400 delegates attending the mask-free event in the ACC Liverpool. Now you might be thinking that 400 people in one room is crazy considering the past year – however, there was an instant buzz of excitement in the room and a scientific reason behind the launch.
What was the point?
What’s the point in these pilots you ask? Well, TGBF was the first of a series of science-led initiatives examining the risks associated with attendance at large events to explore how to get audiences back into events safely. Findings from the ERP will inform decisions on the safe lifting of restrictions at events.
How did it work?
Delegates were required to take a lateral test 24 hours prior to attending the event and were also asked to take at-home PCR tests on the day of the event and five days after. Once in the venue, no face coverings were worn by attendees and there were no social distancing measures in place.
The process leading up to the event was very smooth. There were clear communications from TGBF explaining what was required by all attendees to be granted entry into the event. Having sent off my final PCR test (which will be monitored by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport), I realised that if this is the future of events, then it seems like a good option.
What does this mean for the future?
Whether you are looking to run events again, getting the team back into the office, or planning meetings with external partners or clients, the research collected during these pilot events will allow us to generate clear outcomes on what life will be like post-Covid.
Delegates sat side-by-side to hear from several speakers including former CEO of the Body Shop Jeremy Schwartz, Tourism and Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston MP, and Simone Roche MBE founder of Northern Power of Women.
The Change Business for Good event felt like normality, but on reflection is this the new reality for the events industry?
What to expect next?
To conclude, these pilot events shed a glimmer of light on what the future could look like and brings hope with regards to Covid-19. But as Simone Roche rightfully said, “we don’t want to build back better, we want to build forward…there is so much opportunity to be better” and I agree.
TGBF ‘s main event is set to take place as a 3-day in-person festival in the Liverpool City Region from 7th – 9th July 2021 and is a non-for-profit event commissioned and funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authoring.
Are you planning on running in-person events soon? Are events a core part of your business? Get in touch and tell us about it! Or, book into a Gather One-to-one session to talk to a Growth Consultant about your plans.