It’s official, in-person events are back together this summer. Music festivals kick off coast-to-coast in July and August, along with book festivals and conventions of all kinds. Hybrid events are full steam ahead, with many major festivals, including many virtual experiences alongside in-person experiences. Basically, there’s going to be a lot going in the event world starting right about — now. We did a roundup of some of our favorite events returning/debuting this summer to give you a head start. Also, we’ll go in-depth on what organizers can learn from everything coming back as they plan, book, market, and monetize events of their own. Lots to cover. So let’s get to it!
Rooftop Cinema Club
The Rooftop Cinema Club hosts near-daily outdoor movie screenings in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, and many other spots. Always in front of a picturesque skyline (as seen above). The screenings start around sundown (to maximize golden hour vibes). Attendees wear individual headphones (so that they never miss a line). Drinks and even a full dinner are available, plus you get your own deck chair (no fighting over elbow room here). What we like about Rooftop Cinema most, is that they are pushing the envelope for how people can meet in person, while still feeling safe and having a unique experience. Also, we have to say that adding a sunset and drinks to every one of your events is a great business model. Organizers take note!
Lollapalooza and Pitchfork Music Festival
Lollapalooza (July 29 – August 1) and Pitchfork Music Festival (Sep 10 -12) are leading the way on major in-person music festivals in 2021. Between the two events, you could make up for a whole year of missing live music in just 7 days. Attempt at your own risk! These events will also be the benchmark for organizers looking to host big events where social distancing is pretty much impossible, and probably unenforceable. It is a music festival after all. To increase safety, attendees are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test. Masks are mandatory as well. But all in all, we see this as a big step up from a year ago, and we could be more excited about where things are headed in the in-person event world.
Dragon Con (Sep. 2 – Sep. 6), the premier event for everything related to gaming, science fiction, comics, and all that good stuff, will return in-person to Atlanta this summer. An interesting note about Dragon Con, they created DragonCon TV back in 2002, which consisted of attendee-produced videos that played and streamed during the event. Later these videos would live on youtube after each event, along with interviews and panels. Talk about being ahead of the hybrid event curve. Anyways, back to the point, if you need a place to nerd out on all your favorite sci-fi shows you binged in 2020, DragonCon is that place.
Houston Food Indie Chef’s
Indie Chef’s COMMUNE (Aug. 21 – Sep. 5) is bringing together possibly the most talented group of chefs you could find (a total of 20+ Michelin stars among them) for a groundbreaking food event in Houston. The experience is an entire culinary world organized and held at a specially built dining compound where chefs will lead over two weeks of micro-events for diners. More importantly, COMMUNE is not just about good food, it’s developed from the ground up to “raise the well-being of the people that feed you.” The hospitality industry has had a rough year, and whether you can make it to an event like COMMUNE or not, organizers should be looking for ways to support chefs and restaurant workers with their events. We all love food, especially at events, so always share the love with hospitality workers when planning.
Triller’s Live and PPV events
Triller began as a video-sharing site, but most recently transitioned into promoting multi-million dollar boxing matches between people who aren’t really boxers. (Such as Jake Paul and Ben Askren). Now, we’re not here to get into if these matches are a good thing (for boxing, or even in general), but we are intrigued by Triller’s new business model for events. Triller subscribers pay an annual rate of $299 or $29 per month, to gain access to Triller’s live and in-person events. This includes sports, music, and fashion — and all of these things in streaming form as well. Think about it like having season tickets — and pay-per-view — all at the same time, for a broad range of entertainment. We think it’s not a bad concept for organizers to consider, especially in terms of hybrid events, and definitely something we’ll be keeping our eye on.
National Book Festival
The National Book Festival (Sep. 17 – 26) is returning this year in a hybrid format and features a full roster of best-selling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners for fans and bookworms to meet and chat with. The event will include a combination of both live virtual Q&A sessions, as well in-person ticketed events. There will also be a series of companion podcast interviews, which is always a great way for organizers to mix it up and lower screentime for virtual attendees. We’re also interested in this event because, like many people, we did a bit more reading in the past year (in addition to TV binging), and we were reminded that books are our friend, especially when there are no events. So hopefully The National Book Festival can help us pick out that next great summer read, or two.
There will be many more in-person events in the coming months!
This is just a shortlist of summer marquee events that caught our eye. There will be many more returning in the coming months in every industry — with major tech conferences, like CES and E3 eyeing a return in 2022. We even put together some tips to help you host an in-person event right now. So stay tuned, and happy eventing!