The ECC Webinar #2: ‘Responding to Lockdown’ for Venues and Promoters

Webinar roundup

The Event Creators Collective second webinar in its series on ‘Responding to Lockdown’ series was focussed on the unique challenges facing venues and promoters.

As before, the webinar kicked-off with a review of a recent survey (carried out by Ticket Tailor) which asked event creators how they were approaching the lockdown and how things might differ for venues and promoters.

Survey results

Unsurprisingly, the impact on venues and promoters is more pronounced than for the industry as a whole; every respondent to the survey has either had to cancel or postpone their events. Unlike other event types which may be able to offer their events virtually, there is just not that like-for-like option available for most venues.

Impact to venues and promoters

This is hammered home when we ask event creators what they are doing in the meantime. Whilst over 50% of all event organisers are either running events in a different way or finding other ways for their organisation to make money, venues and promoters are overwhelmingly left with one option: waiting it out.

venue and promoters meantime

Panelist discussion

For this webinar we were joined by two seasoned promoters who have been running their own nights in London and Birmingham (UK) for the last 15–20 years.

Similar to what the data suggests, both Rod and Miles have had to cancel all events and are keeping a watchful eye on how things develop, whilst also weighing up the best ways to engage with their audiences during the lockdown.

Here are a few of the discussion areas:

Business models and pricing

There’s a huge amount of uncertainty around what will happen with costs and pricing once things begin to open back up. On one side there is concern whether customers hit by the financial repercussions of the crisis will struggle to afford to spend in the same way they did before. On the other side considerations such as reduced capacity, the need to make up for lost revenue and additional costs related to social distancing could drive ticket prices up. The consensus seems to be for a return to the same prices and costs as quickly as possible, but time will tell how it plays out.

Social distancing in venues

Social distancing in certain areas of our lives may be possible with a few simple precautions in place. For example, we’ve seen how shops have adapted to these measures, and it’s foreseeable how workplaces and public transport might be able to adapt too. But, what’s less clear is how a nightclub or gig venue can create the same experience and vibe with 2 metre social distancing rules.

Rod laid it out simply; “For me personally, the fun, atmosphere and vibe of the kind of events that we run is created by the swell of numbers. It’s a lot harder to build the energy in a room, whether you’re a DJ, a venue or a promoter in a half empty room.”

We’ll wait to see how regulators and policy makers respond to these clear and apparent challenges.

Making it work online

Whilst you may be able to monetise your workshop or class by taking it online, it’s a lot harder to compete in the world of music streaming and events — let alone to charge for it.

Saying that, there have been some notable exceptions like DJ D-Nice, a Bronx-born DJ, producer, and rapper. After starting with a base of 200 viewers, within a few live performances he was up to 100,000 and his audience included the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Janet Jackson and Lionel Richie.

However, these are probably the one-offs that prove the rule on how difficult it is to compete in the live streaming world. As a venue or promoter you are now competing against a global choice of content as opposed to your local physical venues.