The coronavirus pandemic brought most of the music industry to a halt this year. So what is the future for live events in the next two years and how can concerts meet the new safety requirements? Giles Brown chats to Rock Lounge CEO David Giles about the future.
GB: Well David, 2020 has been an interesting year for live music…
DG: An interesting year? (Laughs). In reality 2020 has been a year of stop, get ready to go again and prepare yourself as we have done. We are ready to go live in 2021. If we have vaccines approved and available by the second quarter of 2021, that will give people a lot of confidence to go out. Once that happens then the pent up demand for live events will be absolutely stupendous. People have really missed the live experience – it’s something that you can’t replicate online or through the television.
I’ve been attending and organising live events like this all my life, and I know that the demand for will definitely come back because people want it. What we are concentrating on at the moment is preparing ourselves with the social distancing and safety measure. That’s a consideration with all our brands, from the concerts to the picnics, as health is going to be a major factor for the next year or so. To have the requisite spaces that we need and for people to feel safe and feel good about it.
GB: So when are you planning on holding your first events?
DG: We hope to be back with ‘Disco under the Stars’ at the Marbella Arena on July 30, 2021, and our two UB40 shows on August 5 at the Marbella Arena and August 6 in the Algarve, Portugal. Finally we plan to host Chicnic again in September or possibly October.
GB: One of the advantages of using open air venues must be that they are flexible with their layouts.
DG: That’s right. Marbella Arena, for example has a large capacity, and this allows us to have the space for safety as well as the atmosphere that we want. We can get creative with spaces within the bullring for people to get the full vibe from the artists that are on stage.
GB: You’ve been speaking with artists ahead of next year’s concerts. How they handling not being able to play live?
DG: They all want to get out and perform, because that is how they earn their livings. We already have a lot of acts lined up for 2022, some that we have worked with before and several that we haven’t. I’ve been making enquiries about several artists that I think will suit our audience and I’m at a fairly advanced level of negotiation with some seriously good acts.
GB: One of the advantages of Rock Lounge was that you were organising bespoke, limited number events before the pandemic
DG: Absolutely – we’ve always had VIP areas, pre show cocktail events, after show parties. The artists that we put on are aimed at a 30+ audience. We have events aimed at the younger audience in our portfolio, Soulfrito and Latino 100, but they take place in the U.S. and are managed by my daughter. Rock Lounge has been and will continue to be aimed at a specific type of audience that appreciates the type of audience that we bring and that memories that that music brings from their “younger days”.
GB: So will Rock Lounge be coming out all guns blazing in 2021?
DG: I don’t know about ‘all guns blazing’ next year. We certainly will in 2022, but in 2021 we will tread quite lightly. Firstly we want to make sure that artists that we want are available, and then we are looking to expand our events quite considerably, and possibly our locations.
We have always been experts in outdoor events, for more than 30 years, and so now Rock Lounge can provide the perfect venues for today’s issues