The aftershock of Covid-19 – Making mental health at boutique festivals a top priority
12th March 2021
Events in a Covid-19 world
Due to Covid-19, moving events online was a vital move to sustain the industry, however with lockdown being lifted and festivals being announced it is crucial to encourage the public back.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, consumer behaviours and attitudes towards boutique festivals have changed due to many people’s concerns regarding their safety due to mental health struggles. As event managers it is important to tackle these issues and reassure your attendees to provide a safe return to your festival.
Currently, coronavirus resulting in millions of consumers turning to virtual events, 57% of which would prefer to attend these events virtually whilst social distancing measures are in place.
Therefore, with major festivals currently opening up in the UK, it’s time to market your event so that you gain even more attendees.
Why would people be worried to go to events?
There are many reasons as to why people may be nervous to return to festivals with individual attitudes being a contributing factor. 44% of people have said they will be attending fewer events once safe to attend.
With Covid-19 having a significant impact on people’s mental health it is important to identify the attitudes that may occur towards festivals. The once accepted norm of crowds at festivals was celebrated, but in a post Covid-19 world it could in fact make people extremely nervous.
With most events over the past year being delivered online, many people have enjoyed these from the comfort and safety of their own home. The change in behavioural patterns may have resulted in consumers feeling indifferent towards physical events.
Will people cope without safety measures? Are people able to move past these issues? With these questions in mind it is of great importance to evaluate the beneficial aspects to raising awareness and developing strategies in order to move forward and allow individuals to feel more at ease.
Here are some recommendations that event managers can implement to satisfy customers and put their safety first;
Supporting mental health at your event
With the government’s advertising of “hands, face, space” which has been widely enforced over the past year, many have used this as a new behavioural norm. With social distancing being relaxed in the near future it is vital to acknowledge that some consumers may still have significant mental barriers due to their personal attitudes or behaviours. As event managers you need to plan in order to overcome these mental barriers and measures which will need to be implemented to protect both the physical and mental health of attendees.
Mental health is becoming ever more prevalent due to the strict enforcement of social distancing. Within festivals there are many worries of the attendees and their surrounding of others even with social distancing protocols of the increased security measures of stewards. The idea of providing a ‘mental health’ marquees will provide a safe environment for those that are anxious at the event and will be able to express their worries in a comfortable space, as well using the marquee as a time out zone.
Hosting a Q & A session prior to the main event
Prior to hosting your event, hosting a Q & A session will allow potential attendees to raise any concerns that they may have about the event. The pre-conference will also outline all precautions that will be in place when attending the festival, this will aid in reassuring the attendees that they will be safe when in attendance.
This will be extremely beneficial for those that may suffer from anxiety related to the pandemic, or in general and will reaffirm that their safety and comfort is paramount.
Changing the layout of your event
Spatial awareness is more crucial than ever which is why the choreography of the event must be mapped within an inch. Obvious signage for certain areas will prevent bottlenecking in areas with high footfall such as the toilets also, increasing the toilet and handwashing facilities will be necessary.
Consider creating one-way systems in correlation with one person in and one person out. You should test these potential routes and techniques beforehand to avoid any issues.
The use of contactless and self-service has been accelerated due to COVID-19: therefore it is essential to embrace the use of technology, and with the recent announcement of contactless payments limit being increased to £100 that is due to be released later in the year, the following could be of great use to your event, facial recognition, event app.
Provide rapid testing
Many events around the world have been using rapid Covid-19 testing before entry, for example Swallow Events have partnered with a healthcare company to provide rapid testing service to the events industry.
It has been mentioned that providing a rapid testing service prior to entering the venue will ease doubts of someone entering with the virus. These tests have been proven to give 98% accurate results within 10 minutes. However, the tests come with a cost (approximately £25 per kit), this can be factored into the ticket price as it will ensure attendees are negative before entry to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading throughout your venue.
Along with the suggestions above and government guidance there are no shortages of ways to make your festival safer in a post Covid-19 world. What would you recommend as an event planner? Leave a comment below.