The year is 2020, a year that no one will ever forget...
We are currently facing the biggest challenge ever in our industry. The whole industry is suffering and nobody really knows how and when this will end. But one thing is certain, this virus will have a major impact and will change our world as we know it today.
The event industry is underestimated by a lot of people and governments, while it belongs to the biggest industries worldwide. In Belgium alone around 80.000 people are working in our industry, with a yearly turnover of about 10 billion Euros.
Event and marketing agencies, festivals, freelancers, event suppliers, etc are all suffering financially. Nobody knows what the upcoming months will bring.
The festival season would normally start in a few weeks, but unless a miracle happens this will not be the case. Will there be a festival season at all this year? At the moment no one really wants to think about it.
But we should be thinking about it, especially about the impact it will have on our industry if the entire festival season gets cancelled. Even if it’s the right decision to defeat this virus.
A festival only has 1 chance to make revenue a year. Festivals need to pay their employees, rent, utilities, insurances,… which will be imposible after a whole year without any income. It's like telling your family they have to buy food, pay rent,… for an entire year without any income and have to get through this situation just with their savings. Within a few months everyone will be struggling. Whether we like it or not, this will also be the case for festivals – without any income or help from governments, festivals will have to file for bankruptcy.
It will be the end of summers as we know it.
Some governments will provide financial help for the event industry. Take Belgium for example; the Belgian government decided to pay 3000EUR per company. Which is great for companies that can restart their operations within a few weeks. But can someone explain to us what a festival could do with just 3000EUR?
Event suppliers usually make around 60% of their revenue during the festival season. Freelancers will be out of a job for months, as their agenda is now completely empty and the search for new jobs is futile and way too late. Cancelling the festivals will result in a massive loss for the industry and all people involved.
For about 5 months the entire industry will be generating zero revenue. If the festival season gets cancelled, it will be the end of summers as we know it.
But what are the alternatives? Let the festivals take place with a risk of creating a bigger pandemic? Reduce the capacity? Refuse foreign visitors?
To be honest, we don’t know the answer… The faith of our industry is in the hands of the governments and scientists who have a better view of all this. We can only hope that if they need to make the tough decision to cancel the festivals, they really think this through. The result of this decision will be significant for the festival industry.
For the time being, we would like to thank everyone involved in saving the summer.
Let’s all stay home and follow the guidelines provided by your local government. It’s not easy but it’s necessary to not only save our industry, but most important to save the lives of your loved ones .
Stay safe everyone!