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Mash Media MD Julian Agostini jumps for joy at the news that full event restrictions are planned to be lifted on 21 June, and says timing is everything, but not always so easy to get right…

Do you ever think that being a sports pundit is the easiest job in the world? You watch your favourite sport and roll out some over-used phrases in semi-analysis and we are all hooked. One favourite cliché in football is that great goal scorers have a knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Certainly, it looks from afar like these great ‘poachers’, as they are called, have a sixth sense to be just where the ball lands no matter whether it comes off a knee, ricochets through a crowd of players, bounces off the keeper, or gets caught in the wind; they are there to tap in the ball from a few yards and win the game. Simple.

This instinct for timing brings enormous success in football but also in many other activities. In our own industry it is also extremely useful, if not essential. When to run your event is a crucial discussion in the planning, as we all know, and can even make or break it.

So, do we all need a goal scorer in the team? Well maybe we can learn from them a little, as to how to perfect this knack.

The experience that we have had over the last year has given some insight as to what is required.

It has been absolutely impossible to plan anything for nearly 12 months as we all know. As an industry that relies on perfect planning, trying to judge ‘where the ball is going to land’ – when we can actually run our events safely and, of course, legally – has driven many of us to the brink of despair.

So, imagine the incredible emotion here at Mash Media this morning when the following schedule was rolled out last night:

Outdoor Events can be run from 17 May: we have our first outdoor event booked at Farnborough International from 26-27 May, the Event Production Show. It will be the first time we will have run this event outdoors but it’s appropriate in every way; and lucky, even?

Indoor events for up to 1,000 people (or 50% of the venue’s capacity) can also run from this point with Covid mitigation and, and we have the EN Awards, which I sense is going to be a major industry party, booked and ready to roll on 18 June, not to mention the CN Agency Awards and the Independent Organisers Conference, which are both also scheduled for June. Again, right on time.

And finally, we are all allowed out to play in whatever capacity from 21 June and would you believe that International Confexthe PA Show and the Publishing Show are all scheduled for the great industry re-opening the very next day from 22-23 June at ExCeL London? Almost too good to be true, but, at the moment, it is reality, and we can’t wait to host you all at all the above.

So, did we do anything to be this fortunate; can you make your own luck?

All I can tell you is that we have kept at the forefront of our minds that we need to be as brave as possible and to keep positive. At every opportunity we have believed that the industry might open up and when it does, we had to be first, so we booked dates throughout, stayed flexible but kept everything bubbling so that we could react as quickly as possible. We have had a lot of extra cost and disappointment as a result of this strategy, so who knows what’s best? Not too scientific.

All I can conclude is to be in the right place at the right time, you have to be in the right place at the wrong time quite a lot and also, maybe, in the wrong place at the right time sometimes.

Essentially be everywhere, all the time, and occasionally, you will get some tap-ins.