5 Trends that will shape the Singapore event industry in 2016

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What trends do industry veterans predict will influence the type of events being created in 2016? This was the question of the night at the session of Backstage Pass held at WorkCentral last week. We had gathered 5 speakers from various industries to share their insights on trends and the cultural phenomenon that were shaping them. Our speakers for the night were Syaheed (SGMUSO), Umar (Comedy Masala), Kay Wee (Asian Film Archives), Michaela (Woolf Works), Lizanne (Upsurge Productions), and Marc (InTheLoop).

Here are the Top 5 Trends that the experts shared:

#5: Support the local Arts scene

There is a booming local Arts industry that is being bolstered by the increasing fanbase local and global who demands for more exposure for their favourite acts. No longer are local musicians, filmmakers, fashion designers considered second-class citizens in the scenes of their homeland. But this hasn’t always been the case; just 3 years ago “it would have been a lie to say that the scene was flourishing.”

What has contributed to this movement? Social media has definitely played a part. Artists are able to share their works on global platforms that makes them visible. Bands like the Sam Willow have been able to garner a huge following online because of this effect.

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Another ally for budding artists have been event platforms like “The 100 Bands Festival.” This local music extravaganza was held at the Old Hougang Bus Interchange at Kovan Hub and was brought to life by the RSC and affiliates. 

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As Syaheed from SGMUSO contemplated, there needs to be more platforms for local acts to showcase their talents. There will definitely be audiences for such events.

#4: Women need resources

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With increasing awareness of feminism, more is being done to level the playing field for women in the workforce. This trend of women-centric activities will gain more momentum in 2016. Michaela from Woolf Works wanted to clarify a common misconception that people have of this movement- it’s not about being anti-male- in fact it has got nothing to do with being males at all.

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Rather, the focus is on providing females with the resources they need to help them juggle the various roles they have to play each day. These resources that they need go beyond the physical (like the coworking space for them to focus) and extends to the psychological. Increasingly more workshops that focuses on their well-being, raising confidence, tools to empower them in their workplace, and linking them to communities that works on supporting them have become more in demand by this market. 

#3: Monetizing passion

The generation of millennials invading the workspace has begun. Unlike the previous baby boomers generation, they are not interested in slogging away just for job security. In fact many of them are bulking the Asian trend and turning towards their passion. Of course, there is a catch; following your passion is dandy but how can you make it sustainable? That is the focus for many of them going into 2016. Making a sustainable living out of what they love.

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Both Umar and Lizanne are examples of how one can pursue their passion and make a living out of it at the same time! Lizanne is only 24 now and she has already established herself as promoter for indie rock bands. It wasn’t easy when she started. She was constantly rejected by all the bands she reached out to engage for performances in Singapore. Things took a turn when she met mentors, veterans in the industry, who were able to give them the guidance they needed to kickstart their business. This is where many event organisers can come in. These passionate folks want to make a difference, want to make their passion their lifestyle, but they need help.

#2: Wellness and health,with twists

Paleo diet. Fruit juice detox regimen. Stationary bike cycling. Kickboxing. Jujitsu. Ultra marathons. It is an understatement to say that 2015 has been the peak of the health craze and this is only going to gain more traction in 2016. Unlike the trend in early 2010s, attendees are not simply looking for ways to get healthier. Now, they are interested in novel workouts and health regimes that can help them achieve their fitness goals while being fun in the process.

Marc from InTheLoop shares how he has incorporated these novelties to his event, Soulscape. He has introduced acroyoga, yoga raves at a beach, yogo on static surfboards, at his events. Other events that have incoprated this element of fun into their fitness regime includes colour run, zombie run. Attendees are looking out for events that will continue to surprise and expose them to ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought of trying out themselves.

#1: Multi format events

As we have discussed earlier, attendees are constantly looking for new experiences. A trend to keep an eye out for is the multi format event. This event format seeks to engage the various senses of the attendees by providing attendees with a multi-sensory experience. For example, at the first soulscape event, they had musicians playing the instruments in the crowd in the dark. No one could tell where the music was coming from, and it created an atmosphere of mysticism as everyone continued to do yoga in the beach after the sun had set.

Marc advises to “put yourself in the shoes of your attendees.” What would you love to experience in an event? What will get you excited again? Constantly collect feedback from your attendees so you can measure the impact of implementing new formats at your events. This is also a great opportunity to create value for your sponsors. Vendors who attend such events find that they can form partnerships with fellow vendors who can complement the services they provide. Think beyond how your event serves in a B2C format, and think of how you can leverage on your event to also be a B2B format.

There are huge potentials in these markets! Event organisers only have to determine how they can incorporate them to suit their style of events. At the end of the day, you have to be true to your brand, and do what is authentic to your organization.

Event Management, Global, Singapore. permalink.
Shilpa S Nath is addicted to event planning. She has been organizing events for the past 10 years from dance concerts to community events attended by 300 people, high tea seminars for C-level executives, and Southeast Asia's largest tech conference for startups attended by 3,000 participants from over 30 countries.