It’s Been Over 5,000 Years. Live Events Should Be Easier

Live events are unique. Why?

You find yourself having to glue together a sometimes-bewildering number of issues, people and organisations against a constantly changing backdrop.

You never really have complete control over everything that contributes towards your success.

You’re completely exposed and to top it all off you typically have a deadline that cannot move.

Commissioning (paying for or purchasing), creating, managing or delivering anything live is quite unlike doing similar in other fields.

Even live television affords you the luxury of being able to cut away to another camera or pre-recorded video.

When it comes to creating and delivering anything live, the only industries working under similar circumstances are perhaps the emergency services and military.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that both the room a surgeon operates in and a war zone are known as ‘theatres’? Live events of any sort are, at their core, theatrical performances. The skills required to manage the business, creation and delivery of live events have their roots in theatre.

Egyptian hieroglyphic evidence proves that theatre has been around since at least 3,500BC. Why then, given, it’s a discipline that’s been around for over 5,000 years, when it comes to commissioning or creating anything live, are there still so many differing terminologies? Why are there so many different practices between types of events and sectors? Why is there so much wheel reinvention?

Compare this to our military and medical examples. There are an infinite number of reasons for and types of both wars and surgery. However, the core foundations and building blocks of both the military and surgery vary little between operations. Most people for example understand that a ‘General’ leads their military into battle and that it’s a ‘Surgeon’ that operates.

Whether within sport, the arts, for a brand or government: live events of any type or for any purpose, at their core, share more than they differ.

Yet despite these similarities, there are still many different approaches and practices to commissioning and creating live events. This in itself isn’t an issue. Look at the unnecessary, but common problems that so many people seem to accept as part of the game – this clearly is an issue. Problems such as: long hours, high risk, confusion, frustration, high costs, too many experts, PR and marketing headaches, procurement angst and ideas getting watered down – to name but a few.

All of these issues can be eliminated, or at the very least reduced to a manageable level. If they aren’t eliminated, live events won’t live up to their potential, as everyone involved is distracted by these issues, rather then focusing on what they should be doing.

As sectors merge, whether it’s sports events becoming entertainment spectacles, whether it’s brands looking to develop or attach themselves to sports or businesses working more closely with the arts . . . the different approaches in different sectors, the different terminologies and frequent reinvention of wheels are surely only going to generate more issues unless some common ground is found?

I am not suggesting new regulations or enforced standards, that would be a non-starter.

Surely though, in this day and age, a better understanding of how live events are best structured, regardless of sector, purpose or type, and some type common language would be better for everyone who commissions or creates live events?

Once everyone is speaking the same language at least, far greater things will be possible, far more easily. Won’t they?