Access asks Production Services Association chair Dave Keighley what the year ahead is likely to hold for the live events industry and its progress with sustainability.

This interview, along with the views of more than a dozen other senior events professionals, is published in the February edition of AAA. Don’t miss it – subscribe here for free.

What do you believe will be the biggest challenges for the industry in 2022, and what measures would you like to see taken to tackle them?

I see many problems facing us in 2022 most of all will be supply chain issues. I have been talking about these for some months now and I think the industry is becoming more aware of the problems and efforts are being made to search for solutions, but some issues will not be remedied in time for the busy summer. We at the PSA have been talking to our members to alert them about the potential that some shows may not be able to go ahead this year and we are willing to support them in any way we can. It’s going to be a busy year, which is good, but it could end up being too busy for some.

After nearly two years of the pandemic, from an industry perspective do you believe anything positive has come out of it and are we better placed to collectively face challenges as a result?

One of the most positive things to come out of the last two years is that all parts of the live music and events industry are at last, talking to each other. With associations like LIVE, the TPG , WeMakeEvents, BVEP and others, finally the whole industry is working together to work out solutions to enable shows and events to take place. We have been lobbying the Government for financial support, working with DCMS to ease restrictions on working in the EU and we at the PSA, through our charity Stagehand, have given out thousands of grants to support individuals suffering the worst financial impacts of the last two years.

From sustainable solutions to the use of new and emerging technology – what do you believe are the biggest opportunities for the sector in 2022 and subsequent years?

The most important thing regarding sustainability is that the whole industry is now talking about it and talking about it in a serious and meaning full way. The pandemic has allowed the industry time to think about how we work and what changes are possible to make doing the work we do more sustainable across all sectors. There are many things we can all do, we need to work together and understand what has been damaging in our design, logistics, routing and use of single use materials in the past and explore our overall approach to changing how we work in the future.

Technology will be critical in our aims to become more sustainable but technology is the not a silver bullet, we must look at everything we do through a different and more understanding lens.

Should the scheduled rise in VAT on ticket prices in March be suspended/cancelled and if so why?

We fought long and hard to get the reduction in VAT and we appreciate the Government listened and gave us what wanted. This reduction should continue until at least the end of 2022 as the period of time after the reduction was brought in, relatively few events could take advantage as we were in lockdown. We should encourage Government to extend it to the end of 2022. That would be a positive to start off the year, and welcomed by many.

Dave Keighley will be among many leading events professionals speaking at the Event production Show. Read the full line up and book your free delegate place here.