Tom Bussey of productionglue, a TAIT company, on the joy of getting ‘back to live’.
“We never stopped working during 2020 and 2021. I hear people talk about ‘pivoting’ a lot. The word pivot, to me, implies that we started doing X, and then we started doing Y. Well, we never stopped doing X – we just adapted what X meant. Our journey through this has been remarkable in terms of our ability to adapt as a business.
“The first time I felt we’d reached a moment where the momentum shifted was in September at The Governors Ball here in New York City. It’s a three-day music festival with tens of thousands of people in attendance per day, and that was a momentous occasion. The energy that you felt from that audience was truly unique. And it was the same backstage – obviously, we wore masks and we were still taking a lot of precautions – but it was this moment of coming together, not only for the audience but for the production community. It really felt like, ‘Okay, we’re getting to the other side of this – we’re not through it yet – but we will continue forward as a team, and as a family. That felt really great.”
“Now, with live, in-person events, I think there’s a greater sense of appreciation for what we missed. I think the exuberance I’ve seen in live audiences and the excitement of being there is more universally shared, and it’s just been turned up to 11. The same applies backstage; there’s more appreciation for face-to-face interactions. So, I think those that venture out into the live environment are rewarded with a greater appreciation of human connection.
“What I think is also fascinating is what memory tells us and what we remember. I recall at The Governors Ball in 2019, Florence + the Machine were playing, and Florence Welch told everybody to put their cell phones down and just be in the moment and experience it. At that exact moment, it started to rain. Literally, on cue, the skies opened up. It was just this phenomenal moment and I know I’ll never forget it – I’ll never forget seeing an audience pulse with energy, and a performer encouraging the audience to be in the moment and experience it for themselves. Being there in person is still so much more rewarding than watching a stream or a recording.”
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