The path back to live events in 2021


POSTED BY | Will Simmonds

Real to Virtual to Real again in 18 months 

Right now, London is still in lockdown, with the government due to announce the path back to normality next week. Current media coverage suggests there will be no regional tiering system, with the whole country seeing restrictions eased at the same time. It is our understanding that the government will insist on face masks being worn for the foreseeable future and that many venues will not completely re-open until we move out of the lowest tier. This means virtual events are here to stay, but there will also be a surge in hybrid events, followed by the gradual re-emergence of live events until they become, once again, the dominant style of events across London and the UK in 2021. This is our reasoning… 

Virtual Events 

Businesses need to communicate with their teams and their audiences. Virtual Events, with everyone presenting online, will continue to be the GoTo style for most events in the first quarter of 2021. Small teams will, social distancing allowing, have some face-to-face meetings at times, if it is easy for them to get everyone together. Covid safeguarding, access to transport links and space will dictate which venues are able to help them here. 

Hybrid events 

As more people receive the vaccine, and the R rate comes down, virtual events will move to being hybrids – some people in the room and some online. 

We believe they will look something like this: 

  • The host and presenters in the same room, presenting both on a big screen there and online. 
  • Cameras, microphones and other AV equipment will mean the online experience is very similar to the live event. 
  • Those who are happy to travel will be in the same room as the presenters, socially distanced of course. 
  • Those online will either be individuals working from home, or small groups in other locations.

Companies with regional teams will be able to make good use of this type of event, keeping everyone informed, whilst minimising travel and Covid concerns. Hybrid events will be prominent through Easter and into the Summer. 

Live Events 

Subject to the success of the vaccine distribution, we expect the third quarter of 2021 to be highly active. People have been cooped up for 15-18 months. They have been starved of real human interaction and will be desperate to get out again. Let’s hope we have the same Summer weather in 2021 as we did in 2020! 

Why not stay Virtual? 

Virtual events work in a number of ways: 

  • They remove the need for travel, with the time and expense involved. 
  • There is no need to hire a venue, saving money on that aspect 
  • Delegates don’t need to polish their shoes! 

However, they cannot: 

  •  Replicate the atmosphere that develops at a great live event. That buzz that grows as the audience sees the engagement and excitement build in others, simply cannot be done online. 
  • Replace the ability to shake hands. Humans crave physical interaction from the day they are born until the day they depart. 
  • Allow people to wander through a crowd and simply approach another, eager to find out more. 

Now, some of you reading this will undoubtedly say, of course Glaziers Hall will say that live events will return. It is, after all, what we do – host live events. Whilst that is, of course, completely correct, we cannot drive the return to live events by the strength of our will. No Jedi powers here. Businesses and events organisers will come to us (we would love you to come to us) because they want to hold a live event. Our job is to simply help them do that. 

So that is our prediction of how we will go from Live to Virtual and back to Live events in 18 months. Only time will tell. 

If you want to discuss how we can help you deliver a great, hybrid or, live events in 2021, call us on 020 7403 3300 or email us at