Actavo‘s operations director, Clive Jackson, reflects on 2016 and looks also to the future

 

The scale and number of opportunities for event suppliers in the UK have been tremendous this year. In 2016, the UK showed the international events community that organising major outdoor and sporting events is one of our specialities. This hard-earned reputation and delivery of results has had a direct benefit on the economy.

We have seen just how ground-breaking and innovative this industry can be. A personal highlight was the Star Wars Celebration in the summer – having the challenge of re-creating the ‘Deathstar’ out of platforms, ramps and staircases needed both imagination and dexterity. As Luke Skywalker said from the Millennium Falcon in the original Star Wars movie ‘That’s it. We did it!’

One of the major trends we have noticed this year is the personalisation of experiences. Audience needs have changed. People attending festivals and other events now expect to interact and engage – primarily though social media – with the event itself, with other attendees, with performers on the bill, with sponsors and also with the festival acts’ international fanbase scattered around the globe who, whilst not physically at the event, are virtually and vicariously ‘involved’.

We are looking forward to working on more audience experiences next year. We are already seeing exciting briefs coming in requesting interactive brand activation structures, particularly for music festivals.

Brexit was a shock this year and, of course, concerns remain as to how things will play out on that front. But it’s onwards and upwards. One thing is for certain – over the next couple of years, as the transition takes place, there will be a noteable impact on labour availability and on the movement of people and goods. That said, we’re very much looking forward to 2017 and scaling new heights as part of a vibrant industry.