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How accurate were our predictions for corporate entertainment trends in 2019?

In January of 2019, Wildfire’s Creative Director, Rob Jenkin, made some bold predictions for what he anticipated seeing in the corporate entertainment sector in the year 2019. Exactly one year later, we are here to review his predictions. Was he on the money? Way off base? Join us as we take a look at what was foretold and compare it to the reality of the event entertainment space in 2019.

To recap, Rob predicted that 2019 would feature the following trends in event entertainment:

  1. Bigger scale

  2. Increased audience interaction

  3. New twists on existing favourites

  4. More new technology

  5. Partial customisation

Let’s start with what Rob got right. It is certainly true that 2019 was the year of increased demand for audience participation! ‘Interactive’ was a buzzword all year long, with Wildfire receiving nearly four hundred enquiries in 2019 that included variations of the word “interactive.” While many of these performances turned out to be nominally interactive, we did partner with Musicland Australia to create an act that really pushes the boundaries of “audience interaction.” Many Voices, One Team is a customisable act that places event attendees in the starring role. Modeled after the viral ‘a capella’ YouTube videos, we worked with Musicland to devise a process that allows us to film event attendees singing a song, tune their performances so they sound amazing, and edit the performances into a video that can be screened at the end of the event or used in future marketing material. Not only is the act incredibly interactive, it’s also customisable for the needs of the particular event. If you’re keen to know more, we just released a promo video that demonstrates the process - take a look:

While we certainly saw an increase audience interaction and partial customisation, some of Rob’s predictions for 2020 turned out to be slightly off the mark. Instead of bigger scale performances, we noticed a preference for smaller-scale, stripped back shows. And while we predicted that 2019 would be the year of new tech, we actually found it to be the year that the mainstream discovered tech that has been around for quite awhile! Perhaps due to the viral video of Tyra Banks using her ‘Golden Buzzer’ on the Light Balance crew in America’s Got Talent in 2017, it seems like 2019 was the year LED dance finally went mainstream. We had more requests for Jazz LuMen, our jazzy version of Wildfire’s LuMen dancers, in 2019 than in the year before - even though our Jazz LuMen made their debut in early 2017! We also saw an increase in the number of times our “Futurismo” projection dance was requested. We had been planning to retire the LED costumes from that act in 2019, but with the surge in popularity, we proceded to revamp and restore them instead.

Other examples of not-so-new technology in the entertainment space came in the form of ‘holographic’ content. We saw many examples of holographic branding at industry events (the fan-based holograms at The Special Event Asia were particularly crowd-pleasing) and our own clients requested holographic versions of our most popular projection dance items. At least one more of our predictions for 2019 was accurate - ‘new twists on old favourites’ was a running theme for the year. Our second most popular act of 2019 was our Singaporean Hawker Dance. This act took something we’d been asked for repeatedly - multicultural dance - and updated it to reflect another local culture: the food culture. Perhaps the new decade will bring even more twists on current favourites.

While Rob probably shouldn’t quit his day job to become a fortune-teller, it seems his predictions for last year were generally fairly accurate. What does he have to say about the year 2020?

ROB: I think the requests we've been getting already hint at two main trends for 2020 and beyond. First of all, we are going to build on the interactivity we saw last year for entertainment that is more fully immersive. Clients want to build community and we are going to see performances that engage the audience more fully. Secondly, we are going to see clients opting for entertainment that is more than just 'standard dance,' but at a manageable price point. Spectacular performances are costly, but discerning clients want that little something extra. It will be up to us to come up with innovative and cost-effective ways to add spectacular elements to visual performances.

What do you think? Let us know your predictions for corporate entertainment in the new decade!