The pandemic has obviously changed everybody’s lives, from the way we work, school to the way we socialise. This has sadly resulted in people feeling more lonely than ever, with the Mental Health Foundation reporting 1 in 4 adults feeling this way during the November Lockdown, with the highest rates being amongst young adults. This in turn, has highlighted the importance of togetherness and distractions from the current climate. It’s no surprise that the pandemic has completely changed the way we do events, but has shown how much many of them rely on them. Whether they are used to socialise with friends, learn something new or just just for a new experience. The lockdown has proved more than ever the importance of having that set time in the diary to ‘attend’ something.
Working for a creative events company, we have had to do more pivots than an Olympic gymnastics competition, it has been hard work but the things we have learnt have been invaluable.
PopUp Painting in normal life runs social painting experiences, which is known as the sip and paint industry. During an event, guests are invited to paint on a canvas whilst being guided by a qualified artist, the energy is high with a themed playlist and drinks flowing.
As with many who run events, when lockdown was called last March, we thought it would be almost impossible to transfer such an immersive experience online and maintain the energy and excitement. However, after a few virtual online parties, we started to notice the significance of people wanting to have ‘something booked in’, something to look forward to and that sense of togetherness that events bring. One guest commented that they had ‘gone out without going out’. Online events had become this respite from the strangeness of the world.
As a team, we adapted as much as we can to becoming an online company – we realised how much people wanted escapism from the pandemic, they still wanted to make memories. As this demand grew, we offered Live events – free painting sessions for people to trial PopUp Painting, Online Parties – longer, ticketed events and we launched art kits so guests could paint along with the same equipment as our artists.
The importance of the event was to simulate the atmosphere of our in person events as much as possible – with themed playlists, recommended drinks and trying to keep the social elements that our normal events have. We wanted to give the feeling of being ‘out out’.
The pandemic has been hard for the entire events industry, but it has been a positive experience to shakeup the company from the norm, it’s been an opportunity to be creative and change. Location stopped being a limitation, and we suddenly had guests joining us from Australia and New Zealand.
As our in person events are on a smaller scale and are seated, we are fortunate to be able to easily make our events Covid secure and able to run in person when rules allow. This experience has taught us how much people crave experiences. Despite the hardships this past year has brought, we love seeing people enjoy themselves and unleash their creativity – be it in person or through a screen.