Symphotech has published a new webinar to add to its Recover and Reopen series, following on from its contributions at the annual Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) conference, expanding the legacy of the DCMS Arts Council England funded project. The Roadmap to Reopening webinar is now available to assist organisers HERE, as they navigate their own roadmaps back to business.

The AFO conference attracted 163 members to its’ virtual platform, for 12 hours of seminars and discussions centred around their potential return to business, following the loss of the 2020 festival summer season to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Symphotech supported the conference as sponsors, which opened with a keynote speech by Julian Knight MP, chair of the DCMS Select Committee. Eddy Grant, director of Symphotech (pictured),  presented one of the day’s most popular sessions, with 110 people participating in his COVID-safe events in 2021 seminar.

Symphotech secured DCMS Arts Council England funding, Autumn 2021, and pledged to share their professional knowledge to benefit the industry. This led to the launch of Recover and Reopen, a series of free to attend members’ webinars, hosted by the AFO. Eddy Grant presented the webinars, supported by Will Hodgson, managing director of Symphotech.

The webinars addressed the range of new considerations required for delivering safe festivals in a pandemic 2021, answering the individual concerns of attendees around COVID-19 challenges.

They ran December 12, 2020 and January 9, 2021. The first covered a suite of resources and documentation collated by Symphotech to support COVID safety and event planning guidance on dealing with the impact of COVID-19, within the ever-changing legal framework. Following the opportunity to tailor plans for their own events, the second session allowed for advice in specific areas requested, including an update on legislative changes.

At February’s AFO Conference, Grant was able to use the virtual conference platform to engage in conversations with delegates throughout the day. In his afternoon seminar, he gave a thorough examination of potential scenarios. Drawing on his experience delivering events during the pandemic and deep mining data, Grant delivered detailed predications for multiple risk-mitigation processes and for the potential benefits of a successful vaccination program, with the effect on a timetable for mass gatherings being allowed.

Grant said: “These AFO members are a very resourceful, diligent group of festival professional who passionately care about holding their events in a safe, responsible manner. They were very receptive and I wish them every success navigating the ever-changing landscape as they approach their events. We are dedicated to continuing our support and several have engaged us professionally to share their journey.”

Steve Heap, general secretary of the AFO, commented: “It was a privilege that Symphotech chose the AFO with this pro-bono project to use their Arts Council England funding for the benefit of the industry. Their delivery, led by Eddy, exceeded our expectations. His combined technical, educational and actual live events experience resulted in some top-level information delivered in a language that our members could easily understand and relate to.

“Members feedback from both webinars was excellent and he brought it all together wonderfully at our annual conference in a very engaging, instructive webinar.”