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How concerts inspire the world of events by Benoit Schram

24 September 2018
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As sales of records have dropped, artists have been forced to rethink concerts and turn them into real events, focused on convincing fans to spend many tens of euros to attend. On-stage action, multimedia shows, interaction and techno performances are where it’s at now. It’s an inspiring idea for the world of events.

To succeed in the world of show business, a stage performance needs to become an event, a live experience with spectacular added value. Take, for example, Beyoncé, imperious in her legendary show at the recent Coachella Festival; Shaka Ponk, who put on an explosive performance at the Brussels Summer Festival; Gorillaz, supported by innovative virtual projections; or indeed Phoenix, performing between an integral LED floor and a giant mirror inclined above the stage.

 

Stage production and a wealth of technology

In every case, the audience now wants to feel like they are part of the show, experience it totally and not miss the tiniest bit. They want a memorable experience, with a before, a during and an after - just like any event, in fact - combining the key ingredients of creativity, communication, logistical organisation, interaction, surprise and technical innovation.

 

While stars like Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith or Paul Simon are still happy to show off their guitars, magnetism and repertoire on a bare stage, the majority of musical genres need some “backup” to stand out on stage - rapping, for example, or DJ sets where the music is not played live and the static nature of the artist is compensated for by an onslaught of audiovisual effects and full-on stage production.

 

Concerts as creative incubators

 

Spectacular concerts are a double source of inspiration for events nowadays:

  • because they are proof that live music, being highly appreciated by the public, is still a relevant aspect in an event. We know music at VO - at least the strength of the inspiration in this sector, which is constantly looking at creative ideas and ways of incorporating them as the highlight of an event. That’s why, two years ago, the group Hyphen Hyphen was chosen to put the spark into Levi’s show in Milan. The following year, DJ Justice was warming up his decks in Amsterdam. And next December, a major group is expected to continue the trend. Alice on the Roof has also been the original musical element of a fashion show organised on a beach in Marseille for Alter Domus. It’s true, a big name star is still the perfect icing on the cake at an event. All the more so when the creative thrust and the values of the artist are in tune with the content, direction and spirit of the event.

 

  • because the context of the live music show is a creative incubator and permanent repository of new ideas for reinventing events. As logistical mechanisms full of inventiveness and technical mastery, megashows are essential reference points that need to be watched closely. An event agency will take away from an amazing concert package such as Beyoncé’s the use of huge LED walls, with synchronised images of the choreography of 200 dancers whose movements were reproduced graphically on the screen.

 

But just attending a breathtaking concert to learn from it is never enough. There is nothing better than surrounding yourself with specialists, such as those of a world-renowned sound and light company such as PRG, whose Belgian office is a partner of VO. They are valuable technical service providers who can advise on any ideas, suggestions, advice on innovations and new applications from showbiz (which sooner or later percolate into the world of events anyway).

Belgium is one of those at the forefront of the music tech wave and its start-ups. Their aim is to bring artists, concert and festival organisers, agents, musicians, new technologies and digital tools together, to implement new creations on stage and improve the logistics of musical events. Here too there are things event professionals can draw on - the intelligent jukebox from Muuselabs, Facebook ticketing solutions provided by Preesale, algorithms for the human music experience developed by Musimap, etc.

Now you know the score...