+44 7786 867 869 samme@sammeallen.com

This year’s Brit Awards was another landmark event in the road to recovery.

With an audience of 4,000 in attendance as part of the Government’s live events pilot scheme, it was the biggest indoor event of its kind in more than a year. And after 14 months of venues standing closed, bringing an awards show and live music back to the stage at the O2 marked another milestone in the return of live events.

There were no social distancing restrictions or masks, but attendees had to undergo a very tough regime in terms of testing and hygiene measures to make sure that the event was safe.

And event professionals watching at home will have recognised it for what it was – a hybrid event on a huge scale.

M&IT Expert Samme Allen enjoyed the ceremony, and jotted down a few thoughts about what eventprofs can learn and remember about hybrid events from the Brits 2021…

– The live audience can be a small percentage of the overall audience. The events that attract the biggest sponsors and advertisers are ones where not all customers are in the room.

– The importance of the host linking and managing the entire flow is priceless. (See more below)

– Advert breaks are ok for all audiences. And bring in big revenues if you have extended audience reach.

– Diversity and inclusion are top of the agenda. Our audiences expect the change. It might be harder work sourcing, but events create the change and it’s our responsibility as event organisers to drive this change.

– No matter how experienced the performers/speakers are, they are all well rehearsed for this particular show. And they will rehearse for the next, and the next. Elton John doesn’t just tell the producers that he’s done this for years and therefore won’t show up until 10 minutes before the show goes live.

– The host brings the event to life for the virtual attendees, the viewers. The host isn’t trying to bring engagement to the live audience as this audience segment have live experience and all that includes (socialising!)

– The host looks at the camera at all times, bringing the virtual audience into the room. Jack Whitehall did a great job and is a professional at this, with great experience now. Don’t underestimate the need for a professional in this role.

– Remote presentations work for all audiences. Remote productions work better.

– No one sits down to present. NO-ONE!!

– Same stage, clever scene changes and use of screen/graphics. (Apart from a maze during the Years and Years and Elton John set – everyone needs a maze at an event)

– Sound has been missing from our lives for too long. Music and human reaction, clapping and cheering haven’t been recreated for digital and this needs to improve. Using this during hybrid events will elevate the virtual experience.

– Go back and watch the cameras. How many camera angles can you count per act to create that dynamic for the virtual audience? This gives us virtual viewers the context. Don’t scrimp on the cameras, as the virtual audience will feel included with the right production.

– Other channels exist for online audiences. There was a whole other show on Twitter with red carpet interviews and content. GIFs and graphics as well as video. Mixed content is the future.

– Your host can host from anywhere. Including not in the venue! Jack Whitehall was only on stage at the beginning of the show and featured in more ‘interesting’ locations. Why not? As long as your host can be heard in the venue, the venue audience will see what is next.

– A sting is ALWAYS a good thing.

– Try and hold off your last awards presenter getting hammered before he or she goes up.

– Watch the credits at the end of this show. Or any production in fact. Look at the numbers of people and organisations involved. Look at the different skills and roles needed. You cannot put on a show the produces the results your businesses require without the right resources.

The power of events should never again go unnoticed. Live is delivered across all audiences. I cried, laughed, sang and had goose bumps during the show. I have been engaged for two hours and 15 minutes with a few screen/loo breaks and I’m not digitally fatigued.

Bravo to all involved in the Brits 2021. Thanks for the experience. It’s good to be back.