Recover & Reopen

Symphotech has published a new webinar to add to its Recover and Reopen series, following on from its contributions at the annual Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) conference, to expand the legacy of the DCMS Arts Council England funded project. The Roadmap to Reopening webinar is now available to assist organisers as they navigate their own roadmaps back to business.

The AFO conference, 20th Feb, 2021, attracted 163 members to its virtual platform, for 12 hours of seminars and discussions centred around their potential return to business, following the loss of the 2020 festival summer season to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Symphotech supported the conference as sponsors, which opened with a keynote speech by Julian Knight MP, Chair of the DCMS Select Committee. Symphotech director Eddy Grant, Chartered Member of IOSH Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Director of Safety Symphotech and Professor of Professional Practice at the University of Cumbria, presented one of the day’s most popular sessions, with 110 people participating in his ‘COVID-safe events in 2021’ seminar.

Symphotech secured DCMS Arts Council England funding, Autumn 2021, and pledged to share their professional knowledge to benefit the industry. This led to the launch of ‘Recover and Reopen’, a series of free to attend members’ webinars, hosted by the AFO. Eddy Grant presented the webinars, supported by Will Hodgson, MD of Symphotech.

The webinars addressed the range of new considerations required for delivering safe festivals in a pandemic 2021, answering the individual concerns of attendees around COVID-19 challenges.

They ran December 12th, 2020 and January 9th 2021. The first covered a suite of resources and documentation collated by Symphotech to support COVID safety and event planning guidance on dealing with the impact of COVID-19, within the ever-changing legal framework. Following the opportunity to tailor plans for their own events, the second session allowed for advice in specific areas requested, including an update on legislative changes.

At February’s AFO Conference, Eddy was able to use the virtual conference platform to engage in conversations with delegates throughout the day. In his afternoon seminar, he gave a thorough examination of potential scenarios. Drawing on his experience delivering events during the pandemic and deep mining data Eddy delivered detailed predications for multiple risk-mitigation processes and for the potential benefits of a successful vaccination program, with the effect on a timetable for mass gatherings being allowed.

Eddy states:

“These AFO members are a very resourceful, diligent group of festival professionals who passionately care about holding their events in a safe, responsible manner. They were very receptive and I wish them every success navigating the ever-changing landscape as they approach their events. We are dedicated to continuing our support and several have engaged us professionally to share their journey.”

Steve Heap, General Secretary of the AFO says:

“It was a privilege that Symphotech chose the AFO with this pro-bono project to use their Arts Council England funding for the benefit of the industry. Their delivery, led by Eddy, exceeded our expectations. His combined technical, educational and actual live events experience resulted in some top-level information delivered in a language that our members could easily understand and relate to.

“Members feedback from both webinars was excellent and he brought it all together wonderfully at our annual conference in a very engaging, instructive webinar.”