5 Virtual Events to Watch this April

Federal authorities and most states have extended their social distancing or shelter-at-home order through April 30th, which means…we have at least another full month of witnessing the virtual events industry transform and develop. That’s called “silver lining,” everyone.

So, this week we present to you 5 virtual events that we’re looking forward to in April. Now, there are three important things about these events to note before we get started:

  1. Each of these events are completely free and open to the public. 
  2. Each of these events performs a public service or provide an opportunity for personal enrichment. If you’re organizing your own virtual event from the ground up, strongly consider executing something that reflects the needs of your audience as a way to foster brand engagement. In the case of these 5 events, they each provide much needed distractions and ways to make the shelter-at-home experience fun.
  3. Virtual Events don’t necessarily have to be analogous to live events (ex: a web conference to replace a live conference). We’re seeing the nature of events and gatherings being completely redefined on a daily basis and entirely new forms of events are emerging. 
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From the ashes of last month’s canceled SXSW festival comes this special online film festival due in late April. 

From the website:

“Prime Video presents the SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection” offers filmmakers in the 2020 SXSW Film Festival lineup an invitation to opt in to take part in this online film festival, which will play exclusively on Prime Video in the U.S. for 10-days. The one-time event will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall and free to all audiences around the country, with or without an Amazon Prime membership, all that is needed is a free Amazon account.

The film festival will NOT include films from producers who have already secured distribution deals with Prime Video rivals like Netflix but you should still expect to watch a majority of SXSW’s film festival entries from your couch. 

All the filmmakers who opt-in to this film festival will receive a nice kick-back from Amazon for their participation and the added bonus of a much larger potential audience than anticipated. We’re closely watching this special screening because if it does go off without a hitch, we expect to see more virtual festival events from major services like Prime Video in the future.

Red Hat Summit (April 28th-29th)

Cloud-computing and open-source software giants Red Hat were among the first companies to cancel their live event (March 4th) and spent the past month redeveloping their annual summit as a fully public, immersive online experience. All the special keynotes, discussions, and breakout sessions scheduled for the live event will now be taking place through Zoom and are completely free to the public.

Want to learn more about all the digital architecture behind the latest innovations in cloud tech? Want to find other people who have as strong feelings about Linux as you do? We’ll definitely be in attendance if even just to admire the operation of this virtual summit, but if this content strikes your fancy you can view the complete schedule right here.

Harvard Graduate School of Design’s April Events Series 
(Multiple Dates in April)

From the website:

Harvard Graduate School of Design has organized a series of virtual public lectures across the month of April, an effort toward sharing and stoking design discourse amid today’s almost-entirely digital context. GSD faculty including Dan D’Oca, Oana Stănescu, Jenny French, and David Moreno Mateos will offer looks into their ongoing and upcoming design preoccupations, while voices from outside the school bring welcomed insights and dialogue. The GSD’s series of talks and webinars will be broadcast to our audiences via Zoom and live-streamed to the GSD’s Facebook page.

Doesn’t that sound fancy? There are a whole host of online design festivals going on this Spring including this one by De Zeen, but the one that stuck out to us the most was this event series. Lectures and Q&A’s on urban planning, office planning, ecosystem management, and the famed American architect Bruce Goff are just a few of the events slated for this month. And what’s more, think about the self-satisfaction you’ll get from telling people you spent the day casually enjoying a Harvard lecture series like it’s no big deal. Pants optional.

The Late Show’s #indoorappreciationmonth 
(Every Day in April on Social Media)

Sometimes its worth thinking about planning a virtual event like you’re creating a social phenomenon. While this is a social media campaign, it’s a little bit different then just expecting a bunch of people to tweet about how much they like frozen pizza. We see #indoorappreciationmonth as an event because it fosters organized social participation, discussion, and congregation around a particular area of interest or cause. The major ambition of this month-long virtual event is to lead or frame an already extant popular conversation online. This is clever. Take notes.

What better way to make shelter-at-home orders bearable than to make them into a special event of only-at-home activities. This event phenomenon succeeds because its crowd-driven, it reflects the current circumstances of its target audience, it inspires a sense of togetherness, and it provides some much-needed structure for the month. You can observe or participate in the experience on any of your social media accounts by following the hashtag.

New England Aquarium Virtual Visits 
(Every Day in April)

As a Chicago native, I had a lot of hometown pride when I watched The Shedd Aquarium’s penguin outings at the end of last month. In case you missed it, The Shedd Aquarium employees took videos of their penguins visiting all the different areas of the museum after it was closed to the public. I mean come on, penguins are charismatic, inquisitive, and clumsy on stairs. There was no way that idea was going to fail. What’s not to love about that?

New England Aquarium now has daily streaming events series (11 a.m. Eastern) to showcase all the exciting aquarium goings-on that you never get to see. Yeah sure, you’ll see some standard cool stuff like shark feedings, but there are also really adorable moments you’d never expect. Did you know it’s some guy’s job to brush seal teeth? Did you know there’s an on-site sea turtle hospital for turtle check-ups? In the case of the New England Aquarium, treating virtual audiences to a VIP backstage pass is a compelling way to maintain interest and visibility.

Now is the time to think outside the box and develop brand new virtual event concepts. Need some help? Get in touch with us today!

David Sonntag
david@decibelmanagement.com
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