Festivals will rebuild confidence in live and hybrid events

As Top Banana announces it has joined the TBA Group, both company CEOs reveal their big takeaways from the last 12 months, and say they are ‘cautiously optimistic’ events will come bouncing back.

Guy Horner, TBA Group CEO and Richard Bridge, founder and CEO of Top Banana discuss why the experiences and live events agency has acquired a majority stake in the creative communications agency.

The TBA Group says it has built on differentiated agency expertise in three specialist areas: sport, brands and entertainment. Now, Top Banana will sit within its ‘brands’ division, working across corporate and consumer projects through its specialist agencies TBA, Optimum and LGA.

Bridge, who becomes Managing Director of the TBA brands division, sees summer festivals as leading the way in building back confidence - ahead of events reopening. He’s aiming for a significant kick-off in September, with bookings already coming in, he adds: “We are coming out of COVID now and as the sun starts shining and the flowers start blooming, we are starting to see some real progress and real return, if you like, for the events sector.

“It’s been devastating, let’s not mince our words on that, it has been devastating for our industry, but I think with the power of coming together as a combined force, I think it will be brilliant moving forward.”

On the changes from pivoting to virtual, Bridge says he’s been surprised by the absence of PowerPoint slides from events, saying: “They are more like television programmes. I think that’s been a success. Making it more watchable entertainment from a virtual perspective, rather than just being a person in a box with a PowerPoint slide.”

TBA’s chief is cautiously optimistic events are returning and believes the group has the strength to do a lot more in the UK and internationally. Horner says: “We are seeing more confidence and planning return, and our customers and brands are really thinking about how they engage with their audience internally and externally, as they come out of lockdown and the whole pandemic.

“That all comes back to hybrid, to how you capture live and virtual and maximise both. I think that’s where - in the group - we’re really focussed and are well set with the expertise we’ve got.”