I’ve been at home now for almost 10 weeks. Prior to the global pandemic and UK lockdown I had contracted an illness, and subsequent infection that had seen me in isolation at home for almost three weeks before everyone else! It’s a tough gig, but I am lucky. I have more than one living / dining / kitchen room and a garden that catches the sun. Even so you still need your routines and triggers to stop each day blending into one. For me this is music. It always has been. I love it in (almost) all forms. It picks me up when I’m low. It fires me up when I’m getting ready to go! It sets the tone for everything I do. I’m also not fussy; currently I am writing this on my breakfast bar streaming to Kacey Musgraves simply because my daughter is making cookies. It’s not my cup of tea but she’s singing along and that makes me smile.
I’m old skool. I have CD’s, I have (original) vinyl, I have (newer, thicker) vinyl, I have 7” vinyl!! I play it all and literally have done over the last two and a half months. Recently, as my health has improved and people have got over the fact that it was nice to “just have a few weeks off,” my attention has turned to the event environment.
Live events, as we have known them and virtual / hybrids, as we will come to recognise them - music plays such a role in our profession. Creating the right atmosphere as people enter a space, move towards the stage or collect an award, contributes to what memories are made of, even in the world of financial conferencing.
Let me give you an example. For the last four years we have delivered a large graduate induction event for a global financial institution. 900 grads, one week in and out of the main room. Yes, the purpose is for the grads to start their career on the right foot, while also creating the right atmosphere and environment to kick start that journey. As you can imagine the Spotify playlist was huge. It takes a while to get 900 22-year olds in and out of a main room cabaret style four times a day for three days. That said it wasn’t just an afterthought 10 minutes before the delegates entered the room.
The list was cultivated. The pre-event app asked for songs that they wanted to wake up to, a song that they wanted to dance to, a song that made them want to SHOUT! The playlist was created from there and boy was it eclectic. But isn’t that what being a human is all about? We’re an eclectic mix and that’s what makes us unique. On that event I saw delegates walking in and out of the plenary singing along, not just by themselves, but with their new colleagues and friends.
As I reach this point in my isolation playlist and realise that there were some good tracks on Now Dance 89, I wonder how music will continue to motivate in the virtual event space or will, like everything else, this aspect need to adapt too?
We had a conversation on our daily Broadsword Huddle this morning about the evolution of our industry and one of the conclusions we drew was that, for now, everything is quite up in the air. People are accepting a different way of life and of communicating with others. This however will not be for long. Everything needs to fall back into a place, it’s how we are able to cope. This is where I see the importance of music bringing order to our chaos.
Picking us up and putting us back down again. Welcoming us into whatever room we’re entering and bidding us farewell, packing us off from our dining room table to the kitchen sink with a buzz and a feeling ‘every little thing’s gonna be alright’.