We all know things are going to be very different for quite some time when New York eventually reopens, but what will events look like? We reached out to event designer Bronson van Wyck, the mastermind behind some of the most memorable events over the years to find out what he predicts the future holds.
How do you think the event landscape will change from now through the end of the year?
Realistically I don’t think there will be any large scale mass gatherings before January 2021 so, as much as it pains me to say it, not much is likely to change between now and then when considering crowds in the thousands. However, the summer sun will bring a number of (sort of) socially distant open air get togethers like barbecues, picnics, and pool parties since we’re all craving community, while in the fall intimate dinner parties and smaller events of around 50 people are likely to make a resurgence with a vengeance.
How are you preparing for smaller events? How have you shifted your mindset in planning for what happens once we can gather again?
We’ve always been incredibly cognizant of safety measures but that has obviously been kicked up an exponential notch. During this time my team has been in constant contact with medical professionals, cleaning companies, health officials and the like so that we are kept abreast of the latest guidelines and innovations in public health. We’re constantly learning and brainstorming what we can do to make everyone as happy and healthy as can be when we’re given the green light to gather again. This means that we’re devising procedures for anything and everything from check ins with temperature checks to individually packaged cocktails & meals to constant on-site sanitization. For fashion labels, of course masks, gloves, six feet apart barriers, and related necessary precautions all provide ample Instagram ready branding opportunities. I’m excited to see the resulting creativity. After all, necessity is the mother of invention!
What sort of innovations and platforms are you planning to use to make events have an amplified effect using digital channels?
I’ve long thought that VR is the future of our industry and the pandemic will only speed up the development of a platform that will totally transform hospitality just as Netflix disrupted entertainment. In the short term, like everybody else, we’ve been working within the parameters of Zoom and Instagram Live to create communities from afar. Even when we get back to some semblance of normalcy, every individual and every organization will have tightened purse strings for a long time after so there’s going to be an increased focus on how to get the most bang for your buck out of events whether that’s through streaming VIP gatherings in the tens to followers in the millions or throwing a digital concert rather than an IRL performance. Brands and organizations are going to be taking cues from creators that have mastered the art of at home entertaining like Jimmy Fallon’s revamped version of The Tonight Show or John Krasinski’s YouTube series Some Good News.
Have you heard of any “speakeasy” events happening for those that just can’t stay inside? If not, do you think that will surface, prohibition-style?
A few here and there but right now no one is (nor should they be) going out – both for concerns about their health and for concerns about their reputation! Putting others at risk is never in fashion so there has been a lot of public shaming of those who dare break the rules. That being said, I definitely think that secret speakeasies will start to pop up come September or October. Little did we know this decade would truly be the roaring twenties 2.0! It’s going to be harder than ever before to get your name on the right list at the door.
What do you most look forward to once we can gather and have events again?
Making new memories with old friends. Nothing matters more.
What won’t you miss about the 1,000 + people gatherings?
Since the dawn of Instagram everyone has been glued to their phones. People are recording the action rather than enjoying it in person. The tiny sliver of a silver lining of this whole awful ordeal is that we’ll come out of it with a newfound appreciation of living in the moment. At future gatherings we’re going to be more concerned with forging connections than framing photographs.
Do you think brides that once dreamed of a 300+ person wedding will scale it down?
Not a chance. Nor should they.
What will be the most important thing for guests at your events to experience – is it activations, photo moments, is it more intimate, educational gatherings?
Educational gatherings with venerated thought leaders are going to be more popular than ever. During our time in quarantine the only thing keeping us sane is content so there is a newfound respect and desire to be around artists who inspire us, journalists who have kept us informed, and community leaders who have fought for our safety.