Global live music and events professionals to explore working in the Covid-age

A panel of professionals from the global live music and events industries will discuss the challenges of working under current Coronavirus restrictions as part of the rollout of a new Birmingham City University student and industry communications initiative.

The Delivering major live events safely in the Covid-age discussion, hosted online by the University on Monday 30th November, will see speakers responsible for the technical delivery of major events share their experiences from 2020, as well as how to plan for the return of live events in 2021.

The panel, who between them have worked on Dubai’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, Download and Latitude festivals and audio engineered for the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Greek National Opera, will also be answering questions from students and industry professionals as part of Birmingham City University’s Industrial Mentors scheme.

Led by Dr Roy Priest, Associate Professor and Director of Learning, Teaching and Employability and Academic Lead for the Centre for Digital Media Technology at the University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, Industrial Mentors provides vocation-focussed students on-going opportunities to interact informally with professionals currently working in particular areas related to their course. This offers the opportunity for students to gain confidence in their dealings with industry specialists and enhance their employability. Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Priest said:

"Graduates from our Sound courses go on to work in all sectors of the global music and audio industries. Over the years, our alumni have been keen to inspire the next generation of Birmingham City University graduates to enter this exciting and innovative sector through sharing their experience as Industrial Mentors via guest lectures and forum-based discussions with students and academics.

“Many of our graduates working in aspects of live events have really struggled since Covid-related restrictions were introduced and the problems facing this sector are profound. Working within a range of constraints and new limitations, some industry professionals have been able to sustain employment.

"This event is focused on sharing the experiences of industry professionals and the innovative practices that have allowed live events to continue to reach an audience.”

The live music sector and events industry across the UK, Europe and US have been severely impacted by a series of mandatory Government restrictions in efforts to curb the increase in Covid infections, leading to the suspension of events or spaces where groups of people gather. Industry analysts predict that the UK’s music industry’s contribution to the economy may be halved by as much as £3 billion, with tens of thousands of skilled technical and production jobs at risk – a threat which faces the events industry overall.

Panellists will include John Adkins, CEO of World Class Events; James Thurlow, Operations Manager at White Light; Jake Gardner, freelance sound engineer and Minos Koutedakis, freelance audio engineer with the Greek National Opera. They will identify ways of delivering productions for hundreds of thousands of attendees whilst observing various Government requirements around social distancing, PPE, mass testing and other pandemic-related considerations. Speaking ahead of the event, John Adkins, said:

"The Industrial Mentors program is a fantastic initiative which I am proud to be a part of. After 35 years in the Live Events Industry I am always looking for ways of sharing knowledge and experiences to assist and encourage the next generation of event professionals.

"Nobody in the event industry has escaped the hugely damaging impact of Covid-19 however we have delivered some limited capacity and virtual events safely and successfully and it’s great to see online training and learning programs flourishing.

"I believe if we continue to develop, adapt and support each other through these challenging times then together we will be back stronger than ever before."

Places for the one hour event, which runs from 13:30 on Monday 30 November, can be booked via Eventbrite.


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