2018 saw many exciting developments in the corporate event entertainment scene. Just as quickly as it arrived, it's now gone and 2019 is upon us already! With a new year come new ideas and a chance to take a look at where the industry is headed. Here are 5 trends we expect to see in corporate event entertainment in 2019:
1. Bigger Scale
This is a trend that began to emerge last year and we expect it to really take hold in 2019. Corporate clients and their event managers continue to seek bigger and more impactful performance options. The quest for new concepts to fulfil this desire for scale will see a push to incorporate more technical equipment into event performances. Some specific items we expect to see more of are Kinetic Lights, Simulated Pyrotechnic machines, and Digital Water Curtains. Where this increase in technical set up will most impact event managers is in the way it will necessitate changes in their process:
Event entertainment is often added as one of the final components in an event management proposal and workflow, after the layout, staging, and AV are all planned and budgeted for. To achieve the scale and impact of entertainment that we foresee event managers seeking, the entertainment is going to need to be considered at an earlier stage, with the technical planning and budgeting done together with the staging and AV.
Larger technical set up for entertainment means an event's AV and entertainment vendors will need to work more closely together to ensure successful technical execution. The equipment and execution costs also means they will need to consider the technical setup for their chosen entertainment option as part of the staging and AV budget. Besides better quality entertainment, the added advantages of operating this way include more seamless integration of entertainment into the overall event and the opportunity to use the extra equipment throughout the event.
2. Increased Audience Interaction
Audience Interaction seems to generate a holy grail level of excitement among many event clients. Every event manager will attest to clients getting very passionate about wanting audience interaction. And for good reason — well-executed audience interaction can be incredibly engaging and entertaining.
In 2019, new technology is making well-executed audience interaction more achievable and more exciting than ever before. New advances in wireless technology and the maturation (and inevitable drop in costs) of existing tech are driving the industry towards a tipping point where systems will enable audiences to interact with (and even control) performance elements.
Shows that extend beyond the stage will have more meaningful interaction rather than simply placing the performers closer to the audience.
Picture an LED dance performance where the audience controls the lights or colours, or shadow dance performances where real-time audience voting controls the storyline (much like the latest Netflix phenomenon Bandersnatch). Or consider the impact when multi-day conference guests get involved in simple activities over the first days of the conference that are incorporated into the entertainment on the final day.
3. New Twists on Existing Favourites
With entertainment companies looking to maximise their existing catalogues, new styles and themes will be brought to existing acts. This will enable the acts to fit a wider range of events and event themes. LED dance acts will be given new costume designs and dance genres such as Contemporary, Jazz, and Cultural Dance, thus bringing them event types and themes beyond the futuristic and high-tech. Think LED Jazz at a Gatsby Gala Dinner or LED Cultural Dance for an update of the tired old welcome performance for international guests to a conference.
Other acts will also be enhanced with the addition of new technologies such as projection mapping dance using holographic scrims, or Air Vortex installations made "fan-less" inspired by the design & technology of the Dyson fan.
Elements from existing acts will also be combined to create new formats. In 2017 and 2018 we saw LED dance combined with Projection Mapping Dance. We can foresee shadow dance and projection dance being combined with performers in front and behind the screen, as well as LEDs and UV being incorporated into a wider range of acts.
4. More New Technology
Technology and innovation will continue to push on in the corporate event entertainment world this year.
We can see the introduction and greater use of triggering technologies such as conductive paint and other new generation sensors on the corporate event stagein innovative and interesting ways. The recent demonstration at CES of decorative LEDs that are brighter, consume less power, and are 1/25th the size of existing technology caught our eye, but with the supply chain currently bought out, it could be only later in the year (at the earliest) before wider access is gained to this tech.
We foresee greater experimentation with robotics combined with live performance as well.
5. Partial Customisation
With the scale of entertainment acts and therefore the costs continuing to increase, we expect to see more corporate clients and event managers opting for partial customisation of performance acts instead of creating fully customised routines from scratch. Through this strategy they maximise the scale they get for their budget while still tailoring the performance to their event.
The growing range of existing routine catalogues for many large scale act will also make it increasingly possible for event professionals to find performances that already closely align to their event theme or vision with little or even no changes required.