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Edward Poland

What’s on the horizon for live events? An interview with Hire Space’s Edward Poland

While restrictions may still be needed at live events in the short-term, there remains scope to set the tone in this new era for in-person shows. International Confex returns 1-2 September 2021*, to bring together the events industry after an overstayed hiatus.

*This copy was updated 15 June to reflect new date.

I spoke to Edward Poland, co-founder of Hire Space and long-time International Confex attendee and exhibitor, about what this year’s event means for the industry.

In brief

EP: “We will be showcasing some of the best speakers talking about the most important topics, while highlighting the best London has to offer. International Confex will be a great platform to show what the events community can do to bring live events back as soon as safely possible.”

The changing face of events

While International Confex pre-dates the pandemic, Covid-19 will likely shape the conversation in the events space. I asked Poland what he thought the headlines would be from the show come 22 June.

EP: “There’s clearly a real technology focus at the moment, I think we have all learned more about event technology in a year-and-a-half than we would have in five years because it’s been necessary to do so.

“I also think that a lot of the big issues we were discussing pre-pandemic, think sustainability and diversity etc, are going to be more prevalent, because we have this opportunity to redefine ourselves around these themes.”

Due to the months of downtime the events industry has had, it is fair to say the bottom line has grown in importance. I wanted to know if sustainability would still be seen as a ‘must-have’ with this new frame of mind.

EP: “To demonstrate the importance of sustainability all you must do is look at how it’s been put at the top of the agenda for governments, global discourse and big corporates. It’s positioned in such a way that it’s often fundamental in the way that businesses operate.”

Next steps

As the UK opens its doors to live-events once more, organisers watch events like International Confex closely, to see how events will work with new government regulations and question marks around consumer confidence. I asked Poland about the influence of this event going forward.

EP: “Mash Media has led from the front which has been a really important thing for the sector. Having one for the first live events for the sector is important, there are a lot of people looking at this event, seeing how it will unfold and hoping that it will be something that contributes positively to consumer confidence.

“While government regulations look to be moving in the right direction fairly quickly, the next thing will be consumer confidence, and having a big showpiece event like International Confex which shows that we as an events community are the best people to get communities together safely is really important.”

London leading the way

Hire Space will be hosting the Let’s Do London stage at International Confex, the pavilion is designed to highlight the best that the UK Capital has to offer.

Speaking on behalf of the London events industry will be: Ros Morgan, chief executive, Heart of London Business Alliance; Georgina Warren, director of major events and city experience, London & Partners; and Christopher Macleod, director, customer and revenue, Transport for London.

EP: “We feel that the pandemic has created a very difficult time for events, but now we have an opportunity as a sector to redefine ourselves in the best possible way.

“The Let’s Do London Pavilion is a great platform for London itself, we will be hearing from London and its partners about how the city has rejuvenated itself. It will be a forward-looking and optimistic stage at the event.”

International Confex will take place on 22 June, book your place here.