In his latest blog, Mash Media managing director Julian Agostini says that the doom and gloom presented by national media masks an underlying optimism that the events industry is on the way back
Street dancing? Yep, I seriously considered learning a few moves as something to lighten the latest lockdown, but my kids quickly told me that I’d need to be hit with a rhythm stick, severely, before embarking on such an adventure.
They are probably right, though, but like everybody else out there, it’s just about trying something new to change the current landscape.
Through the autumn of 2020, we all had hopes of a fresh start in 2021, but instead it felt like January really kicked everybody in the teeth, with the news serving daily doses of misery and despair. It would be very easy for everyone to hide under their duvets and wait for it all to go away. The mood is flat, the weather is unforgiving and business remains at a standstill; or is it?
If you listen to the national media, we may as well all go and jump off a cliff. I have actually stopped watching and listening to the news in the morning. It helps that the cricket is on in that regard, but seriously it is actually now the opposite of news. We have heard the same stories and opinions for months now.
Also, how irritating is it that many of these commentators confuse fact with their own opinion? It is so boring and, frankly, quite unintelligent to hear these people making grandiose statements based on their gut feel. That’s not been exclusive to the media, in truth. I don’t understand why people are intent on wearing gloom as a badge. I’m sure we have all heard in despatches that ‘there will be no events until 2022’ or ‘we will be in lockdown until autumn’ or even ‘events will never recover’, ‘the world will never get back to normal’. Stop, please. It is tiresome to listen to; these are just opinions from harbingers of doom.
It is a safety mechanism of sorts, and I get it. Nobody wants to be the grinning, over optimistic fool, but all the above statements are not facts, no matter who has declared them from whichever platform.
For what it is worth, it is not just my opinion that events will roar back as soon as confidence returns. The conjecture among the organising community, that we speak with regularly, paints a more positive picture with a lot of excitement about the future of our industry.
Here are some facts to back that up: firstly, ExCeL London (or the ExCeL conference centre, as the BBC calls it), has gone to public consultation with plans to further extend significantly, and the money men are keen to back this, which tells us everything we need to know. The same is true with Butlin’s, which private equity firm Blackstone (which also owns the NEC) has just taken on for £3bn.
Secondly, the G7 Summit is coming to the UK in June on a wave of enthusiastic quotes from the Government, no less, about how events are crucial. This also gives us a theoretical start date.
And thirdly, we are past the peak of infections, according to the scientists. The vaccination programme is actually going well, too, to the extent that everyone considered in any way vulnerable will be out to play by the end of April.
Without getting ahead of ourselves, could it be that that through the gloomiest of winters, there are reasons to be cheerful, parts one, two and three?