Is the moshpit a thing of the past?

When it comes to entertainment, Dan Bolton is one of the most switched on industry experts in the UAE.

From the creation, design and delivery of live events to managing a whole range of talented artists – think musicians, dancers, acrobats, DJs, and so much more – his Dan Bolton Creative Management Agency has been at the epicentre of some of the most talked-about gigs in the country.

We ask Dan to reflect on 2020 so far and predict the months ahead…

Your reaction when the Coronavirus pandemic hit and wiped out live events?

It was like being hit by a truck. In the events industry we plan for every scenario but this time the problem was way bigger than anything we could solve. My team and I slowly started to put some plans in place to manage the situation the best we could given that none of us had ever been faced with a challenge like this before.

How did you use your time during lockdown?

We started working as a team on making plans for the time when it’s possible to return to live events
and performances again, working with partners on health and safety guidelines, speaking to DTCM, speaking to clients, updating our websites and even launching a podcast. We did all the things we often never get time to do as we are so busy in the delivery of a project.

What advice did you give to artists on your roster during that time?

The advice we gave was “this is only temporary”. This is not a new normal. People will always want social interactions and when the pandemic is over, which it will be one day, live events and entertainment will be as important as ever.

How are things looking up for the UAE’s entertainment sector?

The entertainment sector will bounce back but we have to appreciate it’s going to take some time. Music, performance and culture is vitality important to our existence.

The good thing is we are probably in one of the places in the world that will bounce back faster and safer than anywhere else so we are all eager to play our part in making that happen and support Dubai’s tourism, events and entertainment industries get back on their feet.

It will take time to get to 15,000 audiences again but it will happen. Audience confidence will return as long as we show people we are doing things safely, correctly and creatively.

How soon do you think clubbing will return to normal in the UAE?

I think this will be amongst the last segments of the industry to reopen, as social distancing is almost an impossibility within a club. The interesting thing is the current pressure building within us where we really want to start enjoying these experiences again.

I’ve been out to a few venues recently and as the music starts to pump you can really see that people are having to control themselves. People love music and they love to dance. We will be hitting the dancefloor again sometime soon.

What’s your advice to venues and promoters on how to attract cash-conscious customers?

People’s personal budgets will be a challenge at least for the coming months so venues will have to really up the experiences they have on offer in order to entice audiences and compete.

Can you reveal any big gigs on the horizon locally?

We should start to see some great announcements in the coming weeks and more activity within our industry from October onwards as the traditional event season starts to pick up.

Your biggest professional lesson from the past six months?

Have patience and humility. In life, there are some things you really cannot control and this has certainly been one of them. What you can control is how you act.

Images: supplied