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Livin’ in the Virtual World

George Petersen • Editor's NoteJuly 2020 • July 10, 2020

People have been talking about virtual tradeshow concepts for years, but it really wasn’t until this year that the reality — actually, more like surreality — hit home. We have become numbed by the series of press-the-flesh expos falling by the wayside — the latest was this week’s cancellation of the British 2020 PLASA show — but through it all, the optimist in me sees some light ahead. It ain’t gonna be easy, but the success of the recent online InfoComm Connected and Sweetwater GearFest (both reported on in this issue) give us all a bit of hope.

The situation is thawing — albeit slowly, with the rise of virtual “drive-in” shows with live acts and/or big-screen simulcasts of top artists, along with in-home concerts, streaming worship services, rooftop shows, etc. And while large indoor venues remain shuttered, the clear skies of summer offer opportunities for performances to carefully distanced audiences. Meanwhile, sound companies with integration divisions continue doing installation work, both in retrofit and new construction. Another good sign? A rare bipartisan show of congressional support for the PPP/Paycheck Protection Program — with the application deadline now extended to Aug. 8 to make use of the untapped $129 billion earmarked to keep workers employed.

This month, both Dan Daley’s “The Biz” and Baker Lee’s “FOH at Large” focus on separate, but related, topics within the industry — diversification and reinvention. These two themes are something that all of us should focus on occasionally. We will weather these adverse times. It may be difficult, but we will make it through the storm and emerge stronger.

Until then, stay safe!

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