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7in7 Series: A New Festival & Event Frontier with Steven Wood Schmader

On this 7in7 episode, Paula is joined by Steven Wood Schmader, President & CEO of the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA). Steven oversees a global effort to educate and equip festival and event professionals in order to produce stellar community celebrations. He brings a wealth of insights to their conversation about what is happening in the industry right now. Hear the full interview below.



Here are some key takeaways from their conversation:

  1. A new industry network emerges

The COVID crisis has expanded the network of event and festival professionals seeking support and collaboration across a plethora of industries. New relationships, creativity, new horizons of possibility, and a sense of understanding that didn’t previously exist has now emerged.

  1. Industry surveys reveal key insights

The recent industry survey Return to Live Events, produced in partnership with IFEA had some key information as attendees consider whether they will return to live events, including:

    • Attendees are anxious to return, but reopening restrictions and protocols remain a heavy consideration for some
    • Virtual events will not hold their attention, nor is it a replacement for live events
    • There is an expectation for events to follow protocols in order to prioritize attendee health and safety
  1. The power of partnership is at the forefront of the revenue conversation

There is new value placed on the partners that stood by events during the crisis. Both events and sponsors should be looking to each other to see what is happening and how problems can be solved. Now is the time for an open dialogue and you should be bringing as many people to the table as possible.

  1. Thinking outside the box

Events should be thinking about what new ideas and ways they can expose their audiences to brands. Without on-site activations, how are you able to meet the needs, achieve the goals, and reach the audiences of your sponsors? Time to brainstorm big ideas!

  1. Sponsorship is taking a new approach

There is an opportunity to solve new challenges, but that will require new ideas and a new approach. Sellers must be aware of the changing landscape, the struggles sponsors are facing and how events can solve their problems and invigorate their brand.



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