Peter Schieffelin Nyberg Explains How the Pandemic has Impacted Live Events
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting government bans on large gatherings have all but decimated the live events industry and it could be many months before the industry is able to start up again.
The majority of live events have already been canceled through September, which includes everything from indoor conventions, to outdoor fairs, cultural events, concerts, and sporting events, among others. The live concert industry alone is expected to lose billions of dollars in revenue this year.
It’s not just live event promoters that are struggling either, but also their suppliers, says Peter Schieffelin Nyberg, the CFO of the Camino Community Center, a nonprofit which provides medical assistance, a pantry, and numerous other services for Charlotte’s low-income community. In the U.K, 60% of event suppliers were facing collapse within the next three months as of the middle of April, with several having already gone under.
Workers in these industries are typically freelance or self-employed seasonal workers who rely heavily on the summer event season to provide them with much of their income for the year. That’s mostly been wiped out now, leaving hundreds of thousands in the industry at financial risk.
There’s also the question of what regulations the industry will face when it’s allowed to operate again and how that will affect profitability. Many businesses have complained of stringent new coronavirus regulations that have made their companies more difficult and costly to operate.
Peter Schieffelin Nyberg notes that the live events industry does have one thing going for it, which is a growing consensus among scientists that our economies need to be fully reopened now, which could potentially speed up the timeline for holding large gatherings again.
In Germany, a group of health experts and scientists commissioned by the government to review the data and make recommendations suggested that the lockdown measures were overblown and that young people and healthy adults are at minimal risk of dying from the virus.
Other scientists have also suggested that the lockdowns are doing more harm than good when it comes to public health. Among other things, the lockdowns have led to a spike in suicides, drug and alcohol addiction, and people dying in their homes from potentially treatable conditions because they were either afraid to go to the hospital or because hospitals were no longer performing the surgeries they needed.
If reopening is on the horizon, the biggest question then facing the live events industry according to Peter Schieffelin Nyberg is how willing people will be to go out and be around large groups of people again.
The Bottom Line
The hope is that after months of being locked down, people will be eager to get out and enjoy life. However, it’s equally plausible that after months of media hysteria about the risk posed by the coronavirus, that people will be cautious to rush out into crowds, even to see their favorite musician.
There’s a lot riding on the decisions made by governments over the coming few weeks, as they will largely determine the state of the live events industry for months and even years to come.
By Jamie Cartwright