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The road beyond reclosure: Omicron and the events and experiential industry

British Council's Festival Connections

Panel Discussion

20 January, 2022 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm IST | Digital Event

This event is a part of British Council's ongoing Festival Connections series, which focuses on building a platform for discussion, engagement, knowledge sharing, and peer learning for the Indian cultural festivals sector since August 2019; in partnership with Arts and Culture Resources India (ACRI) and Art X Company.


The festival, events, and experiential industry has been one of the worst affected

since the outbreak of Covid-19. In the final quarter of 2021-22, just as the outlook

improved and the industry began a positive rebound to recover previous losses,

businesses face the impact of another wave of disruptions, postponements, and

cancellations due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. This is an industry that directly employs 10 million people and indirectly, through allied sectors like food and beverage, hospitality, tourism, advertising and marketing, another 50 million.

The economic disruption led businesses across these sectors to see a huge

downfall in their growth. In the three-part ‘Taking the Temperature Report’ by the

British Council, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry

(FICCI), and the Art X Company, 50% of creative sectors reported a 51% or greater

loss in annual revenue in 2020-2021. Furthermore, while many festivals moved to

digital and hybrid formats, income generated through these is a fractional

percentage and has not replaced usual sales and ticketing platforms. As per

research conducted by the Event and Entertainment Management Association

(EEMA), 97% of companies surveyed stated they will need to raise capital or debt to survive, with around 90% of daily wage workers and small and medium scale

agencies associated with the trade facing the brunt of reclosure.

How can the industry manage this uncertainty? What are the advisories available to businesses to encourage agility and adaptability to help them sustain/ survive?

What are the vital responsibilities of private organisations and public authorities and what protocols must be implemented to ensure the safety of our community?

This panel discussion identified some of the practical action and immediate support available to the festival, events, and experiential industry in India, and propose possibilities to think about the future of public experiences, community celebrations, and cultural life in a post-Covid world.

The panel opened with a presentation by Jonathan Kennedy (Director Arts India, British Council).

Panelists included:

  • Deepak Choudhary (Founder and Director, XPRNC-Middle East; EVENTFAQS Media; Event Capital; WWI School of Event Management; WWI School of E-Sports & Sports Management; Laqshya Live Experiences; Live 101; DOREMI Entertainment)

  • Malavika Banerjee (Director, Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet, Bhubaneswar Literary Meet, Jharkhand Literary Meet; Co-founder, Gameplan)

  • Roshan Abbas (Founder, Encompass; Co-founder, Kommune; President, EEMA)

  • Tom Sweet (Music Programme Manager, British Council)

Watch a complete recording of the panel discussion:

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