The Delegate Wranglers were among 400 delegates at the UK's first face-to-face, mask-free business conference that took place in Liverpool on Thursday 28 April. The event was part of the 'Good Business Festival' that is running throughout 2021 and was the first of the trials being monitored by scientists, to help speed the return of in-person events back to a pre-covid experience.
Just to run through the technical aspects, all attendees were from inside the Liverpool city region and had to take a lateral flow test the day before the event at designated centres in and around the city centre. Another test was also required on the morning of the event (which delegates then sent off) and one will be required 5 days after the event too. Attendees were not required to socially distance once inside the venue or provide a vaccine certification. It was business as normal, and so it proved to be.
What was immediate, was the sense of people clicking back into the groove of in person events, there was a refreshments and networking session for 90 minutes before the event started and it was significant to see people shaking hands and even the odd hug here and there. The biggest thing that struck DW was the absolute buzz in the venue, that feeling of getting back together and enjoying chatting to people. The smiles on the attendees were huge and it was heart warming to see and experience.
The event itself was in one of the theatres at the ACC and attendees sat next to each other or could leave themselves some space if they preferred. It was amazing to be attending a live event, watching speakers on a stage and the crowd enjoying it like we used to in the heady days of 2019. The opening address was from Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport with contributions from other business leaders in the form of panel discussions and a keynote talk from 'Futurist’ and author, Mark Stevenson
Afterwards the drinks reception was warmly received by attendees who continued with the networking and by the volume of the chatter, thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone we spoke to really enjoyed and welcomed the event and expressed how it was good to assist with the road back to recovery for the event industry.
The event was attend by government scientists, observing the behaviour of the attendees and the data will be analysed at four UK universities - Edinburgh, Loughborough, Liverpool and UCL, as part of the government's Events and Research Programme (ERP).
All in all, from our perspective the event was a big success and we are looking forward to the finding from this and the other test events throughout the country.