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Managing Uncertainty for 2021 events.

Andy Robertson

With the surge in coronavirus cases globally since Q4 2020 the prospect of returning to any sense of normalcy appears to be a moving target that’s difficult to nail down. What can event organisers in countries like the UK do to manage their decision making in such uncertain times. 


There are a lot of predictions and opinions being voiced in the media from a variety of alleged experts, as with all media reports it is prudent to take a balanced view of these reports and any opinions expressed. What is clear is that the UK will remain in a full lockdown until well into March 2021. Whilst the number of vaccinations administered continues to scale up there are numerous scientists trying to predict when the country will achieve some kind of herd immunity. Given the current infection and vaccination rates it has been suggested that herd immunity will be archived in the late summer months leading to speculation that a sense of normalcy will return by the beginning of September 2021.

Obviously, this is a subjective view based on the news currently circulating and the estimated dates are moving targets. This is further complicated by a significant regional difference with areas like London and the Northwest of England already at 30% immunity and therefore likely to the first areas to gain normalcy. Based on these current views there is a real concern for live event and music festival organisers with events planned between May and July being most at risk. Events planned for the August to October period will likely be able to proceed without too many restrictions.

Event organisers with events planned for the period May to July should already have built in comprehensive contingency plans including the possibility of moving dates to later in the year or as a minimum investing time and resources into implementing COVID-19 restriction measures. The situation is fluid and event organisers should equally have dynamic plans in place to enable them to react to sudden changes. With many event organisers considering moving their events to the August to October months it’s likely there could be event congestion with numerous popular music festivals taking place on the same weekends. If this did happen there will be a knock-on effect on performance artist availability and suppliers of stage backline equipment, generators and toilet facilities for example suddenly being in short supply.

Frustrating as the current situation is it’s important to stay positive and supportive of the live events industry. Obviously, the largest music festivals have struggled to get their plans in place for events scheduled in the early summer months and given their planning timelines of 18 months it is hardly surprising that the likes of Glastonbury have cancelled 2021. 

For any live event organisers planning their 2021 events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need to plan every aspect of their event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

Andy Robertson
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