Cancelled major events: These are the alternatives in times of Corona


What does it do to people when they can no longer cheer on their favourite band at open airs, cheer on their football team or attend a trade fair? And what are the alternatives to mass events? GDI researchers consider four realistic scenarios.

Band Grossevent

Events bring people together. But in  corona times, we have to keep our distance. Concerts, sports events, demonstrations, weddings - everything is cancelled, postponed or redesigned. The Swiss Federal Council has just decided major events will remain prohibited until the end of August 2020. What happens to a society in a year without such events?

Three possible developments for major events during and after the Corona pandemic:

New sobriety vs. entertainment culture

Events are the contrast to everyday life. As a visitor you have high feelings which you share in the group. You can get intoxicated, generate or release energy, in football as well as in the opera or at church services. Where do such experiences shift to if the events are not held? Do they disappear completely? Maybe we won't miss the big events so much, after all. Then a new sobriety and frugality with regard to group experiences could emerge as an alternative to entertainment culture. Meetings would take place in private settings, and public events would be largely avoided. However, this radical abstinence would hardly work for everyone. A passionate football fan almost has to reinvent himself when he can no longer watch matches live. A jazz fan may view  concerts on the Internet, but he realizes that this does not come close to the analog experience. What are the new identity-forming moments?

Structure vs. individual holidays

Events also structure the year: Carnival, Easter, 1st May demonstration, spring festival, European Football Championship, open air, anniversaries, Oktoberfest. What happens if you don't know what to look forward to in the future - the coming weekend, or even the next six months? Does every day suddenly become a holiday, or does everyone celebrate individual holidays? What happens when the year no longer has any structure? What becomes the new special, the new contrast, the new place-to-be? And what happens to the empty halls and rooms?

Corona gangs vs. innovation

There will be corona crews. Because you have to decide with which people you have regular contact and also from which you keep your distance. In the medium term, you will have your corona group, to which you are close and share not only life but also any potential illnesses. A corona friend group forms a body, so to speak. People outside your own gang are a potential threat. The unknown is met with scepticism. Every hand, every sneeze, every breath feels like a potential danger, which one avoids. If people no longer mix, there is no more "social serendipity" - happy coincidences in which one meets people one did not know before. Without events, the formation of "Weak Ties" also fails to take place. These are bonds between people who know each other, but not very well. In the real world these are people who interact once a month and who probably don't see each other very often. Impetus and innovation often comes through Weak Ties - a closed society cannot develop well on its own and tends to rely on tradition rather than innovation.

Major events info

Four scenarios for the continuation of major events

In the medium term, four alternative scenarios for the implementation of events are conceivable (see graphic above). They depend on whether the producers and consumers of an event gather centrally or connect decentrally. The "closed society" scenario involves an exclusive club in which only a few people meet centrally. In the "pop-up events", on the other hand, artists or producers themselves are not on site. This means that these events can be copied or reproduced simultaneously or asynchronously. On the other hand, we are already familiar with "ghost games" - stadiums remain empty, and fans can only join in via communication technology. Finally, in the "Together-Alone" scenario, producers and consumers are decentralized. They connect digitally.

Lockdown? GDI researchers also give presentations online.

GDI CEO David Bosshart will talk about the effects of the Corona crisis on the food, fashion and beauty industry at your online event.