From festivals to corporate events, live events are getting bigger and better every year. This is due in part to growing budgets allowing for more funding to be spent on production. Through invention and ease of access, all aspects of live events have been enhanced. Grander stage designs, brighter and more elaborate lights, advanced and innovative technology, and more emphasis on unique production have helped for live events to be taken to the next level. A study done by CVENT found that 52% of event planners worldwide said their event budgets have increased year over year. “There are many indicators pointing to the strength of the economy, but one of the most telling may be growth in the corporate events industry,” said Patrick Smith, chief marketing officer at Cvent. Overall there are about 18 million in the events in the United States that produce $280 billion in spending and $66.8 billion in labor income.
For those designing these live events a few trends have emerged that have changed the landscape of this industry. Emerging technologies and the new affordability of existing ones have transformed what can be executed at these events. The rise of social media has also affected the production of events. More and more designers are being ask to produce “viral” spaces that will drive fans to post photos of the space online creating more impressions for the event and brand sponsors. Integrating the sponsors into the event more seamlessly has also been a design aspect that has gotten more popular in recent years.
Event Technology Takeover
What is really elevating live event design has not only been new technologies but also the fact that existing technologies are becoming affordable. Once a costly addition, projectors have become more accessible and popular in recent years. Since they have become smaller and more portable, more event planners can use them to creatively transform spaces. That is just the beginning, as things continue to advance and go down in price, more technologies will continue to be more used in the live event industry.
“What can we create that hasn’t been seen by the audience?” asks Bronson van Wyck of event production and experiential marketing company Van Wyck & Van Wyck in New York tells BizBash. “In the next 10 years, I think techniques like sensory projection, immersive video mapping, holograms, and touch screens will become commonplace.”
Live streaming has already seen a rise in popularity for bringing the event to guests that could not attend but it can also find uses at the actual event to enhance it. Audi has already taken advantage of it, using live stream and hologram technology to create a unique experience at New York International Auto Show. They had R&B singer Janelle Monae and rapper M.I.A. perform together on stage even though they were in two separate locations.
“Being able to stream a live performance would allow event designers to tap into a global network of performers,” Jung Lee, co-founder of Fête, an event planning and design production firm based in New York also tells BizBash.
Technology has also enhanced the ability of light, sound, and stage design. New advancements in projection mapping, virtual reality, and augmented reality have allowed for structures and spaces to take on a whole new life. From artistic designs across stages constructed from bamboo to interactive light shows that are triggered from the movements of audience members, these innovative technologies are pushing the bounds of live event design.
Going Viral Social Media
Another aspect of today’s society that is affecting live event design is the impact of social media. Designers are being asked to create photo worthy spaces that will gain traction online, furthering the events impressions. This helps to not only foster admiration amongst attendees as they excitedly post their photos from the event online but also attracts those who did not attend to look into the event for next year. The “Fear of Missing Out” or “FOMO” affect has become a powerful tool for event marketers. This is why they rely heavily on event designers to construct unique and social media worthy spaces.
“The utilization of bold color blended with a variety of mixed textures offset by accent pieces that either give purpose to their placement or serve as noninvasive branding represents a basic outline in building a successful corporate event design,” Brian Worley of Santa Monica, California-based event production company YourBash tells BizBash. “The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ is becoming very evident and in the next five to 10 years, as technology develops and we have more outlets for social media to be expressed, this will only become more of an important element in the design of events.”
Not only is making the space “instagrammable” a priority, but integrating brands logos into the design has also become important. Custom designs that seamlessly work in branding while also creating beautiful spaces are the norm nowadays. Festivals like Coachella in California and Bonnaroo in Tennessee have worked to integrate their activations into the festival scenery. Bacardi at Bonnaroo constructed The Oasis that featured palm trees, beach volleyball courts, and integrated the branding with the space where guests could relax and participate in activities.
Billions of dollars are going into creating live events in the United States each year. That money is being spent to create more unique and creative spaces. Technology has allowed for creators to construct live events that push the bounds of imagination. Live streaming, projection mapping, virtual reality, and other creative innovations are making live events more interactive and impressive. The rise of social media has lead to producers ensuring that their designs lend themselves to create buzz online by being extremely photo worthy. Integrating brands seamlessly into the design has also been an emerging trend in recent years. Overall, live event production is becoming more creative, high tech, artistic, and buzz worthy. The boundaries of live event design are being pushed more and more and will continue to in the future and new technologies and trends emerge.