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An event means a thing that happens or takes place, especially one of importance. Event is a milestone in one’s life or that of the community, organisation or the nation. It’s not a necessity, but most of the such events are marked by functions to celebrate or commemorate the event. The functions earlier were frugal and purposeful, amplifying to the right audience. The transformation of this function into an event is the magical transformation of our times. Now everything is an event and supposedly professionals take over the event.

With outsourced professional event managers taking over, the solemnity of the milestone gets lost. The packaging comes in a regular format. With the actual owners of the function / celebration taking a back seat, the emphasis on the main issues of the event, does not take place. Finally, it turns out to be a logistical roller coaster ride, visual delight, tantalising taste buds and gifts to boast. The only loser is the event itself. The branding is done by visuals and not by the content or the narrative.

The academic / high end technology conferences moving in the same direction, the situation is anything but scary. The topics are selected on its marketability and the running flavours of the market. The built up happens by way of standardised packaging. The budget decides the paraphernalia. The content which is at the core of the conference is handled by lowest level event mangers. The business model is of that of an event, not a conference. It’s no event anyway, no milestone, nothing to amplify and nothing to carry home.

Functions have become events and events have become standalone, a product in itself. The backward and forward linkages have no value. The organisers bask in the glory of the physical success of the event. The purpose is completely lost in the din and cacophony of the event. The brick & mortar is lost. The event age has arrived. The gloss has taken over.


Sanjay Sahay

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