What Will Events Look Like in 2020? - Trendwatcher

Are you organizing an event for youths? Then you better keep up with the trends. Tom Palmaerts is a trendwatcher at Trendwolves and helped writing the European Youth Trend Report.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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Are you organizing an event for youths? Then you better keep up with the trends. Tom Palmaerts is a trendwatcher at Trendwolves and helped writing the European Youth Trend Report. In this episode you will find out what drives your target audience.


Hi Tom, welcome to our studio.  


Hello Kevin. 


We are going to talk about youths. You're doing a research on the subject, especially on the trends. But there were also some interesting things for organizers to be found. 


Yeah, definitely. This is our trend report. 


It looks fancy. 


Yeah, we have to do this. It is a trend report; it has to look fancy and cool. No, but the product itself should also tell something about the trends that... 


But that's promising for the interview.  


So we describe 8 social-cultural trends. And of course there are some... First you have to think about those trends with the timing of the next 5 to 10 years. So it doesn't tell you as an organizer what to do tomorrow to be hip and trendy. No, it tells you something about what the next 5 years will look like, and gives you the opportunity to be a trendsetter on your own. To be the next Tomorrowland. 


But that's what a lot of people are looking for, so that is interesting. And what are the things that are relevant for our industry? 


I think you can link every trend to your industry, but the first thing that comes to mind is 'raw'. Raw and a bit bad style. And what I mean to say by that is: beauty has become mainstream. Everybody knows how beauty works: take Instagram, take a picture of yourself, use the right filter and you are beautiful. Everybody knows today... It is nothing personal. Like, this is white. This is green. It's very clean. It works perfect. It's very slick. No, everything can be a little bit more aggressive. A bit more raw. For instance in colour design; you have to search for clashing colours. Clashing textures; it can give you the first impression: "what the hell is this?" It has to do something with you. By raw I mean that our interior, our design, the feeling you get from the event, can be more rougher. For instance, this is a pretty slick design. So it can be more like wood; things that are more rougher. Again, this is very... You don't feel this. It is very cold. Your iPad technology most of the time is very cold. 


So Apple is gone in the future? Because they are very slick in their design.  


I think that they really have to think about their future design. I definitely think so. Technology needs to give us certain feelings and textures, needs to give us more warmth. I think when we go from the screens to technology that is on our clothes, then we are more focused on... 


But does that also mean; at an event you have a lot of cables running all over. And you try to hide them, you do your very best to do that. 


You try to do your best to be the perfect event, that nothing can go wrong. But in this world... Actually not only the event world; that's boring. 


So leave the cables running?  


Yeah, yeah, leave them running. I give a lot of speeches everywhere in the world and I try to do things so people are scared, like: "oh, what is going to happen?" For instance: this bottle. Take a glass of water. Put it on stage. Don't put it over here. Put it on stage. And walk around.    


So it can break?  


So it can break! The idea that it might go wrong makes it very sexy, intriguing, and it is the difference between a real-life event and just watching a television show, like this. If something goes wrong, I hope that you are cut out. Now not anymore. We have to talk about that in the beginning. But you have to create problems or imperfection. I think in this world imperfection is new luxury, is sexy. 


What I also notice a lot, especially on social media, is that youths are looking for boundaries; making things very extreme... 


Yeah, it is the ultimate experience. And one of the trends we describe is intox/detox. In everything that we do, we go to the extreme. For instance, if you want to cycle, you will buy the best gear you can find. You're not just going to run, no you're going to... 


You need a running computer...  


Yeah, you need everything to this the ultimate best. But this is the intox world, but you also search for the detox world. So we go for the fastest in life, multiconnectivity, and then we also go for the cold spot. Where we don't have connection. Where we search for touch. Where we search for silence. 


Does that also mean that there is a need for events with for example no WiFi? 


Yeah, so or you can choose to go for the ultimate detox version or you can choose for the ultimate intox version. 


But then it needs to work? 


Yeah, so if you say: "well, we're going to do the fastest in life, we're gonna work on that", then 3D or WiFi would be perfect. Like extremely good. Or you choose that path, or you say that there's no connectivity at all and then use that as your marketing and way of communicating. But that also means that you can't text someone, so there's no communication. So it is all or the one extreme or all the other extreme. But you need communication up front then. Yeah, to get people there. And also you have to tell them that there won't be any form of communication at the event. An event where you have to search for the WiFi, those are going to be the bad experiences you will get. Or the one thing, or the other thing.  


Is it the same thing with health? I read a lot about health in the report. 


Yeah, also food. It's either... Not all the time, but there's a lot of fast-food in events. That's the one side. Fast-food is wonderful; we like a good hamburger. But also the other side: extreme health experiences in food. 


We don't see that a lot at events; vegetarian and... 


No, I think it's evolving, but it's really something you have to work on. And it's not about vegetarians, because people aren't vegetarians. People eat meat, and they can eat a lot of meat, when they are in the one track of the experience. But then if they are in the other track of the experience, where at that moment health is extremely important. Then they will search for extremely healthy food. So again: it is either you don't give up and you give a lot of fat meat and fat burgers, or you go to the extreme of very very healthy. But also in your sound environment. Or you say: flashy colours, flashy visuals, heavy sounds, bam bam bam! 


The Tomorrowland experience. 


Do it way, way over the top. Or you create spaces. You create environments where it is very very silent. Very easy, very quiet. Where you sit down and where you can actually feel everything. Where there is space to communicate. Maybe space to sleep. Where you can maybe be one to one. We did research on the future of cultural space for youngsters. And when you talk to politicians, they say: "big! When you talk to bands: "the sound should really be great, bombastic!" We talked to youngsters, and they are all asking for very small event-spaces. 


And what is small?  


Well, for instance for festivals they asked for space for 50 people. 


That's very small.  


Party space for 20 people. So they're asking for small. And why is this? At this moment, we live in a very fast high-technology 24/7 communication world. So what is love or luxury today? That is a face-to face conversation. 


Being disconnected...?  


Being disconnected, enjoying silence, enjoying textures... So I think those things will pop up more and more during the next 5 years, definitely. 


Those were very interesting trends, but in the report there were much more. If people want to read it all, what do they need to do?  


Check our website: www.trendwolves.com, and you can buy it there. It's not that expensive. And it's a very beautiful product. Again, the things that are in this; those are not like: "Wow, look at that event organizer in Japan. He's doing this. Copy this and be the next cool thing". No, it gives you insights in social-cultural evolutions in our society. And if you are good and if you have the right creators around you, you can create your next trendsetting event and not just an event that follows all the trends that you see in the rest of the world. So it is a starting point for you, for innovation and for your future company. 


Okay Tom, thank you very much. 


Thank you Kevin.  


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.