How the Event Industry Is Tackling the Impact of COVID-19

How the Event Industry Is Tackling the Impact of COVID-19

COVID-19 has had an impact on almost all aspects of life. In March of this year, the virus had spread to over 100 countries, forcing the World Health Organization to declare a global pandemic. Unprecedented lockdowns, strict travel bans and “social distancing” measures followed shortly. According to Johns Hopkins University, this year to date there have been almost 60 million cases and over one million deaths worldwide due to the novel coronavirus. 

Many industries that were thriving before the pandemic have faced significant revenue losses and contracted in terms of their growth. Several companies across multiple industries have already declared bankruptcy or were forced to lay off significant portions of their staff.  

Naturally, one of the worst affected by the pandemic was the events industry. 2020 saw the cancellation of many prominent festivals, sporting events, exhibitions and concerts in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. As early as March, St. Patrick’s Day festivities were cancelled all over the world. The restrictions imposed due to the pandemic have also impacted private events, such as weddings.  

Major International Events Postponed Because of COVID-19 

Many highly anticipated major international events due to take place in 2020 were postponed until next year.  

The Olympics, due to take place in Tokyo, were postponed for the first time since their modern inception. Instead of cancelling the event, the organizers made the decision to reschedule the games until next year, when they will hopefully go ahead on July 23, 2021. Such a postponement of the summer Olympics is unprecedented in its history. However, they were cancelled three times during the 20th Century, most notably during the Second World War.  

Euro 2020 was also postponed due to COVID-19. The European football tournament has been rescheduled and will now take place in June and July 2021.  

However, other major football tournaments have gone ahead behind closed doors, in empty stadiums. 

One of the more bizarre results of this was the use of “fake crowds” at some football games. For example, Sky Sports partnered with EA SPORTS FIFA to design a range of crowd-like sounds, such as chanting and cheering, while broadcasting the English Premier League. These realistic sounds are specific to particular football teams, in order to give viewers a sense of atmosphere as they watched the game on TV. 

Businesses Facilitating Virtual Events 

Despite the ban on large gatherings, connection and social interaction are still an integral part of human life. Businesses have found novel and innovative ways to bring people together to share experiences, while still adhering to social distancing rules and guidelines. COVID-19 restrictions have forced us to rely on technology to connect with others and have been a catalyst for the rapid growth of companies that facilitate this.  

While the pandemic has hit the revenues of traditional event planning companies extremely hard, there’s been a steady rise in the number of “virtual event” startups who have entered the space. One such company is Hopin. Hopin describes itself as a “virtual venue” and offers users access to a wide range of features, including virtual rooms, which attendees can move in and out of. This recreates the format of a traditional live expo or conference.  

Hopin has impressed both customers and investors. At the beginning of November the company secured $125 million of series B funding, increasing its current valuation to over $2 billion.  

Another platform that has been utilized by event organizers is Zoom, which went from being practically unknown to becoming a household name within a few short months. Initially, the online meeting app was used primarily for small to medium sized meetings and conferences. However, in October Zoom announced the launch of their new virtual event marketplace.  

OnZoom expands on the virtual event business model, offering a virtual event space, with meeting rooms, stages etc., as well as a marketplace for the events themselves. Zoom’s virtual event marketplace is similar to the type of service Eventbrite has been offering for the last few years.  

Zoom is in a unique position to capitalize on its success as the go-to virtual meeting software for 2020. The beta version of OnZoom is being piloted in the US and there are already a host of diverse and exciting virtual events listed on the platform,  including virtual history tours, business conferences and live group meditation sessions.  

How Event Companies Have Used Virtual Event Software 

Companies such as Hopin and Zoom facilitate virtual events, however, what about companies using these technologies? How have event planning businesses pivoted since the beginning of the pandemic? There are many examples of companies that have embraced technology to bring unique virtual experiences to their customers.  

Virtual Concerts 

Sofar Sounds has been around since 2009, turning cafes, living rooms and other spaces into live music venues, and creating intimate concerts for small audiences. When the pandemic hit, Sofar Sounds was forced to pivot their business model and move its unique concert experience totally online.  

Since March, Sofar has allowed users to tune into “listening rooms” where they can join independent musicians from all over the world for intimate livestreams. This is an example of a business that has really risen to the challenge created by the pandemic.  

Virtual Runs  

Due to the pandemic, several marathons and other sporting and fitness events were forced to cancel. The Great American 5000 came up with an innovative work-around, creating a virtual run all the way from San Francisco to New York. Teams of up to 12 or 24 people can attempt cumulative runs of up to 24 hours a day, while a virtual map tracks their progress towards the 5000 kilometer journey across America, using GPS and apps such as Map My Run.  

Bridging the Gap  

Other companies have adopted interesting approaches to make the virtual experience more bespoke. For example, New Black Studio launched a unique experience for clients called “Event in a Box”. The UK based events company created the service to “enhance events during COVID-19” and “help to bridge the gap between live and online events”. Event in a Box can be used to create immersive experiences for product launches, award ceremonies or conferences, where hand selected products are delivered to guests.  

What Will the Events Industry Look Like After the Pandemic? 

Once social distancing measures are relaxed and life once again becomes more normal, will there still be a place for these new virtual events companies? While services such as Zoom will likely not be quite as sought after when the pandemic is over, it looks like virtual events are here to stay, in one form or another.  

For example, “hybrid” events may become the norm, incorporating both live and virtual elements. This is a great opportunity for event planners, who will no longer be limited by the size of the venue and can expand their audience to include virtual attendees, as well as those who prefer to attend in person.  

How 2019’s biggest event, Choma Na Ngoma, went down

How 2019’s biggest event, Choma Na Ngoma, went down

All roads on Friday, May 31 led to the Kenyatta International Convention Centre for the much awaited second edition of Choma na Ngoma Festival courtesy of Radio Maisha.

As early as 5 pm, throngs of music lovers had started making way to the majestic grounds where Nigerian reggae-dancehall star Patoranking, Tanzania princess Nandy, Congolese songbird Alicios, Kenyan afro-band Sauti Sol, Saldido boss Willy Paul and Hart the Band among others were expected to perform.

Choma na Ngoma stage
Choma na Ngoma stage (Photo by: Too Jared)

When the gates swung open at 6 pm, the mood inside KICC was that of great expectation that the annual event that celebrates African contemporary music and food would live up to its billing.

And it did.

From the centrally located stage, wide dance floor, very accessible food courts to exquisite VIP and VVIP sections, Choma Na Ngoma’s set looked pristine.

Choma na Ngoma VIP lounge
Choma na Ngoma VIP lounge (Photo by: Frank/Radio Maisha)

To the right beamed EABL with an infinite choice of throat quenching drinks that went for amazingly cheap prices.

East African Breweries at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Bar area (Photo by: Frank/Radio Maisha)

A step further, tucked next to a great eatery, Coca Cola eased in with an assortment of refreshments including a new mystery Fanta drink set to hit the market soon that was handed to all revelers for free.

Fanta mystery drink at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Mystery Fanta drink (Photo by: Frank/Radio Maisha)

Overlooking the stage Home Boyz’s set with a relay of talented Dj’s set the party going as the clock tick-tocked to 7:00 pm. Huge screen beamed images to all corners.

Choma na Ngoma Festival stage
Choma na Ngoma stage

8 pm: A mild drizzle whizzed past KICC as thousands unperturbed demand for more as the show majestically geared itself up for the strong line-up scheduled to hold it down until 6 am Saturday, June 1.

First on stage was Lafrique. The band turned the part higher with an exemplary acoustic performance.

Lafrique on Stage at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Lafrique on Stage (Photo by Frank/Radio Maisha)

The energy was something else!

Section of the Crowd at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Section of the crowd (Photo by Frank/Radio Maisha)

After which new entrant on the showbiz scene Star Icon took over.

Star Icon on stage at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Star Icon (Photo by Standard Digital)

Then came songstress Alicios whose stage was sweetly primed by Movement Band and adoringly appreciated by the fans who showed much love to the singer as she crooned her way into the hearts of thousands.

Alicios on Stage at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Alicios on stage (Photo by Frank/Radio Maisha)

Nandy the self-proclaimed African Princess was not to be upstaged. With her legendary dance strokes and voice, she took the night by storm.

Nandy Tanzania at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Nandy (Photo by Edward Kiplimo)

Like a performer that he is, Willy Paul alias Pozze literally brought fire to Choma Na Ngoma with his duet with Nandy that shook KICC! Their Njiwa chemistry was the talk for hours!

Willy Paul and Nandy on stage at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Willy Paul and Nandy on stage

Like a performer that he is, Willy Paul alias Pozze literally brought fire to Choma Na Ngoma with his duet with Nandy that shook KICC! Their Njiwa chemistry was the talk for hours!

Sauti Sol Bien Baraza on stage at the Choma na Ngoma Festival
Sauti Sol Bien Baraza on stage (Photo by Edward Kiplimo)

It was not all about them though, they brought in Sol Generations during their performance and showed the world why they are the big thing to watch.

Did I mention Patoranking also glided in for a classic Melanin duet with the band?

With that entered the man of the hour, Patoranking.

He took the mantle and ran with it as he ushered Madaraka Day with a special musical extravaganza that he diced into a journey in and out of his latest album Wilmer.

Patoranking on Stage at Choma na Ngoma Festival Nairobi Kenya
Patoranking on Stage

A master in his own craft, Patoranking delivered a performance of the ages for over 30 minutes by holding his own save for a three-member back up group and a saxophonist who went and beyond to deliver a smooth performance.

By all accounts, the singer treated his legion of Kenyan fans to his vintage sound to a dice of new works that are already reverberating the charts. Superb.

H_art the band Choma na Ngoma Festival
H_art the Band

Last on stage was Hart the Band who got thousands who turned up to Choma Na Ngoma singing along to their catchy hit ‘Uliza Kiatu’ as the sun made its first attempt to break away from the grip of darkness at a far.

SOURCE: SDE

Kenyan festivals & events that you must attend in 2018

Kenyan festivals & events that you must attend in 2018

If you’re looking to explore Kenya this year, here are some of the biggest events and festivals.

Rusinga Festival
This annual 2 day festival founded by Anne Eboso celebrates and aims to preserve the Suba culture and it is hosted on Rusinga Island in Homabay County. It takes place on the last Thursday and Friday before Christmas and features music, art, cultural sporting activities and cuisine indigenous to the community.

Maralal Camel Derby
The annual camel derby takes place in the middle of the year in Maralal town, attracting local and international visitors. The race is open to professional and amateur camel riders. A 10km cycling race happens concurrently with the derby. Aside from the races there is a cultural show that displays the diversity of the resident communities of Samburu County. This year the festival will take place from August 24th-26th.

Lamu Festival
Lamu Cultural festival, which started in 2001 is the longest running cultural festival in the country. The 3 day festival takes place in November and is meant to give visitors a taste of Swahili life. The activities at the festival include dhow sailing races, donkey races, traditional henna paintings, traditional artisan craft making and competitive Bao games. The Bao games is regarded as one of the oldest games in history with archaeological evidence showing that it has been played in the region for thousands of years.

Shela Hat Contest
Started in 2010, the Shela Hat contest takes place on Peponi beach in Lamu giving locals a chance to show off their creativity as they parade their uniquely hand crafted sun hats. There is no limit to the ingenuity of the contestants as they make use of the material available on the island, be it old cement bags, pieces of coral, shells, palm fronds or water pipes.

Lamu Painters Festival
The concept of the bi-annual festival was created by Herbet Menzer in 2011. It brings together local and international painters to paint the stunning scenery and the people of Lamu Island, temporarily transforming the narrow alleyways of Lamu town into one big art studio.

Lamu Yoga Festival
The event will feature over 150 classes of yoga taught by 26 professional practitioners during the four day festival. Other activities include yoga workshops and meditations, a chance to indulge in Swahili cuisine, sail on a dhow and interact with yogis from all walks of life. The festival activities will take place on Manda Island, Lamu Old Town and Shela Village.

Kenya Kite Festival
The Kenya Kite Festival is meant to bring together kite enthusiasts, kite fliers and kite makers from around the world. The highlight of the festival is the 20-30 ft. the kite display from professional kite fliers.

Nairobi Film Festival
The inaugural Nairobi Festival took place in 2017. The brainchild of Mbithi Masya and Sheba Hirst, the festival is meant to showcase local films and grow the cinema going culture in the city. The 2018 festival is slated from 27th March to 1st April with screenings taking place at Prestige Plaza Cinemas on Ngong Rd.

Pawa Festival
The annual street festival hosted by PAWA254 takes place in the month of December. The event is a rich kaleidoscope of various visual and performing artists who block an entire street in Nairobi and treat revelers to an afternoon and evening of art.

Lake Turkana Festival
The annual Lake Turkana Festival takes place in the month of June in Loyangalani town on the shores of the Jade Sea. The event is a showcase of the unique cultural diversity of the 14 ethnic communities in Marsabit county through song and dance These are the El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanatch, Gabra, Borana, Kosno, Sakuuye, Garee, Waata, Burji and Somali. The 2018 festival will take place from the 28th-30th of June.

Storymoja Festival
Dubbed the ‘biggest book party’ in East Africa, the Storymoja festival is a 5 day annual feast for book lovers and literary art enthusiasts. The event brings together some of the most notable poets, authors and artists on and off the continent to host discussions, workshops and entertain attendees through the week long festival.

Rhino Charge
If you don’t mind getting muddy and have a penchant for adventure then this definitely one of the events you need to attend. The Rhino Charge is an annual off road motor sport competition where competitors are required to visit 13 check-points using the shortest distance possible within the 10 hour race time. The winner is the competitor who visits the most check points using the shortest distance.

Koroga Festival
The 21st Koroga Festival will go down on Saturday 17th March to Sunday 18th March. The two day music festival is hosted by Capital FM at Carnivore Grounds. It brings together some of the biggest acts from across the continent. Artists that have performed include Papa Wemba, Freshly Ground, Sauti Sol, Diamond Platinumz and Yemi Alade.

Tickets cost Ksh. 2,000 in advance and Ksh. 2,500 at the gate.

Tentative future festival dates include:

  • May 12th and 13th
  • July 7th and 8th
  • August 25th and 26th
  • November 10th and 11th.

How to Design for Your Next Event

How to Design for Your Next Event

Events are a great way for your organization to let the world know who you are and what you do. From panel discussions and networking parties to open mic nites, events can help you get discovered, promote your capabilities, and build community.

“Today’s world is about experiences and face-to-face connection,” says Cathie Royer, Senior Marketing Programs Manager, CustomerMining at Adobe. “Because there’s no better way to connect with current customers and meet new customers, the return on the investment you make in planning and promoting an event can be returned many times over.”

To publicize your event and communicate with attendees (and everyone else), you’ll need to create assets — an event brand identity and digital and print marketing materials — that you post, e-mail, and/or snail mail before, during, and after the event. Here’s what experts recommend:

Establish Your Event Identity
Before you post your first invite or flyer, it’s smart to develop and line up all the elements you’ll need to create everything related to the event:

  • A strong, memorable background image
  • A catchy headline or title
  • One or two distinctive typefaces for headlines and body copy
  • A color scheme of three or four colors

An effective event identity is simple, eye-catching, and flexible. You can use it large or small and adapt it to horizontal and vertical formats, to digital media and print. Then, every time you need to product or print something new you won’t have to start from scratch; your elements, such as a stock photo background or illustration, a typographic logo, and the color palette, can be saved in an Adobe CC Library that you can access easily when it’s time to create the next post or collateral piece.

KOI Creative Space in White Plains, NY, is a small business that’s been doing this well. A co-working space by day, in the evening they’ve hosted coding workshops, startup pitch sessions, cocktail-mixing demos, and yoga classes. “We focus a large part of our marketing efforts on organizing and hosting events,” says graphic designer Jon Manierre, KOI’s managing partner. “Events get people through the doors and allow us to really get to know the community. We’ve learned that even the best events can be poorly attended if we don’t design a compelling identity and get the word out.”

For inspiration, visit Behance and scroll through the best of what designers all over the world have been doing. You can search by projects>branding>most recent.

When you’ve figured out the look and feel you’re after, Adobe offers images, videos, and tutorials that will help you create the assets for your event. You can browse thousands of images in Adobe Stock. And if you’d like to take an illustrative approach to the visual or the logo, this instructive video shows you how to create a colorful event logo using simple vector shapes and type.

Before the Event

Getting your unique event concept out into the world often begins with creating a flyer, a Facebook event page, sending email invites to the folks on your mailing list, and taking registrations on a site like Eventbrite. You also may want have a presence on Instagram, Twitter, and other sites where potential attendees might be hanging out.

  • Flyers

A common format for flyers is an 8 ½ x 11 portrait. After you set up your page, try putting your attention-grabber headline at the top, your eye-catching photo or illustration underneath it, and your company name or logo at the bottom right. That’s a formula that always works. Or dare to mix it up a little bit. But don’t forget to tell people why they should come! Give them at least three reasons why to attend, and always include the date, place, time, cost, and how to RSVP. Learn more tips for creating a flyer that really stands out here.

  • Social Media Posts

Now it’s time to apply your elements to social media posts. Every platform has its own requirements. The Facebook event cover photo is 784 x 295 pixels in dimensions, and the size on the Instagram feed is 440 x 220 pixels. There are sites that list all the image sizes for social media, but Adobe Spark lets you create and share social media posts instantly with super-easy sizing for every platform and device, and post frequent updates on your business and personal pages. Be sure to create an event-specific hashtag so attendees can post their own photos and reactions before, during, and after the event.

During the Event

When the day of your event finally arrives, the materials you produce and share can enhance the experience of everyone who attends — and bring your message to those who couldn’t make it. This is the time to interact with attendees and build positive personal connections.

  • Live Videos

Some people who’d love to attend your event might not be able to be there. Bring it to them. You don’t need a fancy setup. Phone videos are fine (a tripod helps). You can choose between posting two- or three-minute segments, or if you have an amazing speaker, panel, or product demo, you may want to share live video of the whole event and let people everywhere “like” and comment. Consider placing sequential photos and videos in a social media story.

“Pan across the audience. Capture their interactions and conversations with the speaker and each other,” advises Ryan Doran, co-managing partner at KOI Creative Space. “We want to make people feel like they’re part of something special. When they see and like pictures of themselves online, they’ll share, which is good for them, good for you, and good for their friends who view their posts — who just might want to come to your next event.”

  • Brochures

Brochures can be an effective guide for event attendees as they navigate activities. They can give summaries of speakers, breakout sessions, or entertainment. They can also share more in-depth information about your business that readers can consume at their own pace. The last 15 minutes or so of your event is the perfect time to hand out brochures that give your guests details about a specific product or service, or perhaps an introduction to your organization’s total capabilities.

You can get started using a brochure template, which takes the mystery out of elements like page set-up, folds, bleed, and trim—and let you focus on choosing the right images and writing the right words to tell your story. These days, brochures are often printed on digital presses, which allow for frequent updates and even personalization with each attendee’s name. So instead of putting in a big supply, think about updating often with your most current info.

  • Business Cards

Don’t forget to have an ample supply of business cards available at the door and on the refreshment table. And why not have a fishbowl where attendees can pop in their own business cards — and maybe win the door prize? It’s a tried-and-true way to make friends and build your mailing list.

After the Event

After the the last hand is shaken, it’s essential to build on the event’s momentum and deepen connections with assets that capture highlights of the event and inspire attendees to post their own photos, reviews, and kudos.

  • Thank You Note

Doran says that he and Manierre always follow up with email thank-you’s. “We make sure to continue the event branding, mention a few key moments or ideas that were expressed, and include a little calendar with the topics and dates of our next three events,” he says. “Once you host a successful event, people look forward to the next one. There’s a ripple effect.”
Your thank-you note could also come in the form of a social media post, call-out in your digital newsletter, or a banner on your website. Tools like Adobe Spark can help you remix your designs easily for different platforms.

  • Direct Mail Piece

Depending on the type of business you’re in or service you offer, it could also be time to think about another direct mail piece or flyer. And because thumbnail images of the project pop up when you open CC programs, you can just open a copy of your last file, make updates and changes, and get it ready to print and mail or email as a PDF to your newly-expanded list.

11 Of The Best Things That Happen At A Concert

11 Of The Best Things That Happen At A Concert

Concerts are a beyond great experience for anyone at any age. Nothing compares to moments that happen after you purchase a ticket to see one of your favorite artists. Some that are so great, they become unforgettable. Some of the best concert moments are the ones you can share with your kid someday. The moments that not only leave you feeling incredibly happy but really in touch with yourself, the artist and their music. Here are 11 of the best moments at a concert.

1. Pre-Show High
Whether it’s jamming out in the car on the way up to the venue or tailgating before the show. There are no real words to express that pre-show high that has you all pumped with adrenaline before the gates even open!

2. When the artist covers one of your favorite throwbacks.
Because let’s be real, what’s better than when your favorite artist starts jamming out to Ignition.

3. When you already know/love the opening acts.
I mean, it’s always super cool going to a concert and discovering a new artist, but what’s really cool is seeing somebody you already listen to and have a love for. It’s like a 2 in 1 concert!!

4. When the artist goes into the crowd.
Whether you have floor seats or sitting in the nose bleeds, watching any artist get close and interact with their fans is an incredible moment for not only the fans but the artist as well.

5. When the artist has a ‘heart to heart’ with the crowd.
Nothing beats your favorite artist telling everyone how much they are worth and sharing experiences they have gone through with the crowd. It brings on a whole new connection you never thought you could have with someone famous. Especially when, and they probably don’t realize it, they give us words of encouragement it can be that little help to keep us pushing through.

6. When you don’t think they are going to come out for an encore, but then they do.
Encores are some of the greatest moments during a concert. From previous concert experience, for the most part, the artist picks some of their favorite songs to do for the encore. Not the ones that are always on the radio, but the ones that you can tell they pour their heart into.

7. When they are singing a song and let the crowd finish the verse.
These moments are life changing. For both artist and fan. When you see the artist turn their mic to the crowd and everyone sings in unison, it’s a moment indescribable. Often it can be an emotional moment for the artist seeing a full crowd singing their song.

8. When it’s a heart felt song and the whole audience has their phones lighting up the venue.
If you’ve been to a concert, you’ve experienced this. When that one person holds up their flashlight on their phone and suddenly it’s a wave of light being flashed in the entire crowd. As the artist continues to sing, you see everyone singing along, waving their phones, it brings you to a place you could never imagine. You get that warm feeling that you are never alone and you share one thing in common with everyone in the crowd. Your love for music.

9. Making friends with the people you meet at the show.
It’s a great moment when you start chatting up with the people in line or sitting next to you. Asking them where they are from when they started listening to the artist. It’s like an instant click. Sometimes, you end up swapping numbers and gaining lifelong friends.

10.When they sing your favorite song.
We all know it, we have that one artist whose music we love everything they create. But there is always that one song that gets you, that one song that stands out from the rest. When that song begins to play, your scream could break a glass.

11. Post-Concert high
Your adrenaline is pumping, a smile never leaves your face. The feeling you get when any great concert has come to an end is not only a great one but also a sad one. Then you spend the next month or so continuously wishing you could relive it and watching the videos over and over again because you never wanted it to end.