They say when one door closes, another opens. Well, with Brexit on the cards, it is a turn of phrase that sums up my attendance, on behalf of EVCOM, at the recent LiveCom Alliance event in Madrid.
LiveCom Alliance launched earlier this year. It’s an organisation that brings together Europe’s live event associations to share best practice, nurture a code of conduct, and act as a lobby to shape European legislation, affecting live events. The LiveCom Alliance could well prove to be a key platform for the UK’s event sector, to influence Europe-wide policy and practice in the Brexit era.
Whatever your position on Brexit, the trajectory of Europe’s live event associations is towards greater harmonisation in areas like, a code of conduct, tax, VAT, health and safety and sustainability. Inevitably, this will impact UK agencies, when we operate across the Channel. Brexit is going to be a protracted process. There’s already a broad consensus around transitional arrangements to avoid a cliff-edge in 2019. And it’s clear that Government attention is focused on industries, like automotive, rail, aviation, pharmaceutical, financial services and education.
The disparate creative service sector, of which live events and brand experiences are a major contributor to GDP, is often over-shadowed in the hiatus around Brexit. So, open-armed institutions, like LiveCom Alliance, could be a primary channel for maintaining an influence, and forging deep connections with the European event’s sector and EU bodies.
Coming together with heads of the European live events associations reminded me that the UK’s influence in the EU has been, and remains, valued. Our counterparts lament our departure. So, if having a voice in how the live events sector evolves, means greater integration (and participation) in pan-European industry and trade associations, then we must be ready to participate – and fully.