The “New” Financial Future of Outdoor Event Production

At In Depth Events, we’ve been watching industry trends to see how event promoters and attendees address social distancing and healthy behavior. Typically, the fall season sees lots of municipal events and community gatherings in Texas, but this year, the scene is evolving. The truth is, outdoor event production is changing, so it’s essential to stay ahead of the trends. As we have watched this year unfold, we have kept a close eye on things, here are some recent trends we have seen in live events that we wanted to share with you.


Social distancing at live events


One of the most significant event trends in a post-COVID world is the resurgence of the drive-in movie. For years, these theaters have been on the decline except for very specific locations. This year, however, business is booming. The combination of the outdoor theater and car access has redefined what “going out” means.  


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Piggybacking on this change has been the promotion of drive-in movies in temporary locations and venues. We’ve seen municipalities and collegiate clients interested in these types of events as well. As always, the questions that come up are movie licensing and FM transmission. Another common question is the use of a projector/screen or an LED Video wall. (Tip – if you expect to do the event in the early evening or during the day at all, you have to use LED panels, as projection won’t work in daylight).

 Wal-mart is also doing a limited number of drive-in movies – in Wal-mart parking lots! The shopping giant is taking 160 of their locations and giving away free tickets to movies shown on large screens. The movie lineup is pretty amazing, as well. While this is a blatant grab for customer loyalty and retention, it’s an interesting plan given our current situation – and it’s been wildly successful. Almost all showings are already fully reserved. You can find out more at


Live music and tailgating – financial strategies


In our new world, the standard ways of making money in live events have changed. Concert promoters, music venues, and churches are all struggling to understand these new ways of making money in events. Many times, these unproven methods make long-term investors and promoters skeptical. Here’s a breakdown of some of these unique events and how they work in a post-COVID world. 

Social Distancing in Ireland. This promotions team is selling their concert attendance with a new twist. The old way of making money on ticket sales was simple: one person – one ticket. The price of the ticket could be scaled based on GA or a specific seat in the venue. This recent concert in Ireland has turned heads worldwide by selling event spaces instead of selling individual tickets. Concert attendees purchase a 10’x10’ space with a maximum of 4 attendees. Depending on how close to the stage space is, it’s delineated by the bike rack, or built on system scaffolding, so everyone gets a great view. Additionally, F&B sales are handled by an app – you order your food or drinks with your booth number, and a runner brings it to you.

 In this model, ticket sales are still an income generator, as well as F&B and parking. The promoter does say that they couldn’t have done it without significant sponsorship – however, this new style of dedicated space is a pretty exciting idea, and we feel that some elements of it will probably last beyond COVID.

 Automobile tailgating – Texas Style. Nobody tailgates like Texans – and our hometown of McKinney, Texas, has a new idea that has been successful during the late summer. These concerts are selling a 20’x20’ event space, where part of the space is the parking for your car! It’s a great idea that merges the convenience of a drive-in movie with the excitement of a live show.  

 The most obvious problem from a financial standpoint is the loss of F&B, as most people will bring food and drinks in with them in their car. Additionally, ticket prices seem to be a little low at $45 per car in advance and $55 on-site. All parking is GA, first come, first served. It’s another idea that is interesting, but would be almost impossible without significant sponsorship.


The future of live events – 2021 and beyond


While there is no question that live events are an all-time low right now, the flip side is that there will be live events again. In a recent discussion with one of my friends, he mentioned that stagehand and technician labor rates were their highest event in 2019.  

 The question that everyone is asking themselves (and each other) is “when will things be normal again”? Some people want to use a date – I keep hearing November 5 mentioned a lot. Some people say that after a vaccine is developed and available. The real answer is that events will never again be the same as they were pre-COVID. Maybe, they will be better.


How can we Prepare for Distance Learning and Virtual Events?

Distance learning UPDATE

Is life going digital?

We are all still learning one day at a time, what life will look like in the wake of 2020 changes. There is still some uncertainty about how our state will re-open, what schooling might look like, and what other significant changes we might face. At In Depth Events, we are working hard to stay up to date on any changes or procedures so we can help in any way we can to ensure smooth transitioning into digital learning, virtual events, and hybrid work guidelines. Have questions? We have answers, feel free to reach out to our team here.

Our team filming distance learning video

Distance learning


As the new school year is quickly approaching, parents have been scrambling to figure out what school will look like for the rest of the year. Previously, schools were informed they could only function virtually for up to three weeks. However, since then, that number has increased, and schools will not be penalized financially for more extended periods of distance learning. So what does distance learning look like? Well, this could be pre-recorded videos discussing lesson plans, or even live streaming with the teacher. Here is a fun example of a video we helped record for the Frisco Library.


What do I need for distance learning


If you are a parent with a kiddo at home, distance learning only requires an internet connection, webcam capabilities for zoom calls, and a computer. If you are a school, this will be an entirely new process and have some challenges. You will need high-quality audio, video capabilities, and streaming capabilities; you will also need the ability to edit any pre-recorded video if necessary. These requirements might sound a little overwhelming, but we are happy to help!


How we can help you


Our team has been providing equipment rentals and high-quality video services for years now. We handle set up, recording, editing, and of course, ensuring all video is of the highest quality. Some of the equipment we offer is;


So whether you need to live stream a call or assembly, or have pre-recorded lesson materials ready to go, we are more than happy to help. Our team is here to support the changes schools are facing, so be sure to reach out to us today!


Virtual events


As guidelines and procedures change, you might be worried about the state of your events. The good news is, many events can successfully be hosted virtually. Weddings, Concerts, graduation ceremonies, and even holiday events can still be successful if you get creative enough. Our team is working hard to ensure we can support our clients if they are changing over to virtual events. Be sure to contact us today to find out more about how you can successfully have virtual events, and even monetize them.


Hybrid work environment


Many companies are choosing to have hybrid work schedules, requiring some upgrades to video and streaming capabilities. Many have chosen flex-work schedules that don't require employees to work in person every single day. Of course, moving to a virtual work environment comes with its own set of challenges; however, this method can be hugely successful if done correctly. You will need a few things to get started like the right equipment, video editing, and streaming capabilities. You will also need platforms to handle video and video conferencing as well. We want to help you make this transition smooth and efficient, so we are looking forward to working with you.


The future

We will continue to keep an eye on the changes in distance learning, the state re-opening, and any other changes we might face. We pride ourselves in moving with the changes and finding creative solutions to support them. We want to hear from you, what changes are you facing, and how can we help? 

We are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines to ensure we offer safe and sanitary equipment, service, and guidance. 

How Virtual Events are Changing the Live Event Landscape

Commencement guidelines UPDATE

It’s no secret that the world has gone virtual. Everything from working, to distance learning, and even graduations are being held virtually. As you know, the Spring of 2020 made us all reevaluate how adaptable our businesses are. Since then, we have seen a steady increase of video streaming needs, so this is the perfect time to get you connected. Virtual and hybrid events are becoming the new normal and having the proper equipment and set up is crucial to keeping up with all of these changes. At in Depth Events we have heavily focused on cloud-based live streaming for years. We also have full video production services, video equipment rentals, and mobile/permanent studios. We understand the importance of high-quality video streaming and we would love to help get you set up.  

Byron P. Steele High School – 2020 Graduation

So who is video streaming for?


This is a great question with an easy answer, ANYONE! Everyone from small business owners, to musicians, and even yoga instructors can take their business online and still create a steady stream of revenue. This is also a perfect option for educators, virtual events, and concerts. We have also seen a major increase in the need to take commencement ceremonies virtual and even family gatherings. Whatever the reason may be, here are some ways to get started.   

What are the benefits to hybrid and virtual events? 


There are several benefits to taking your business or event online. Whether you are a small business owner or even a musician, you can easily monetize your live streams.  We have also found that educators and even fitness instructors are finding ways to teach online. This is a great option to reach a larger audience and potentially double your revenue. Think about it, if there is no in-person requirement you can open your business to the entire WORLD. This model is being successfully implemented in most industries. Currently there are several ways to to stream including, YouTube, Twitch, and even Facebook. There are several ways to monetize your live stream. You can raise money, sell e-tickets, and donation based, or use a membership platform.  

So how does this all work? 


There are several ways to get started. First you need high-quality equipment, then a platform to stream on, and also the ability to market your live stream. While there are many moving parts to cloud-based live streaming, our team at In Depth Events have several years of experience and would love to help you get your business or event online. Contact us today, we look forward to working with you! Feel free to reach out if you want to learn more.  For our latest post on distance learning and digital events- go here.

Samuel Clemens High School – 2020 Graduation

Allison L. Steele Enhanced Learning Center – Class of 2020 Graduation

Governor Abbott’s May 18 commencement guidelines

Commencement guidelines UPDATE


The 2021 season is coming up, and we are all watching developments closely to see how COVID and the calls for social distancing will affect indoor and outdoor commencements this year. We are working hard to make sure our client schools comply and provide safe events for their students! *Here is our most recent post with updates.


This year graduation is going to look a little different. While we know this is a tough time for everyone, we do have good news from Governor Abbott about the 2020 commencement ceremonies. As of May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott has issued updated guidelines for this year's commencement ceremonies. There are currently four options available, including virtual ceremonies, hybrid ceremonies, outdoor ceremonies, and vehicle ceremonies.

While these new guidelines might be a little different then what you are used to, our experts are here to help with anything you need to navigate these guidelines successfully. Have questions? We have answers, feel free to reach out to our team here.

Virtual commencement ceremonies


So what exactly would a virtual ceremony look like? In this case, the ceremony would be completely virtual, with no in-person contact. For this type of event, you want to have high-quality streaming capabilities. You might need specific equipment or other accommodations to have a virtual commencement ceremony successfully. Our experts have a diverse background in live-streaming events, as well as equipment and technicians for setup and streaming. If you are considering this option, be sure to contact us today to help you set up a plan and get things moving quickly.

Hybrid commencement ceremonies


Hybrid commencement ceremonies might be individually filmed or in small groups (while practicing social distancing). This option has more restrictions, so be sure to reach out to our team for more information on how to implement safety regulations, while still having an awesome event. Hybrid ceremonies typically require some in-person participation but allow for remote viewing. This is an excellent option for family and friends to see the ceremony while following social distancing guidelines.

Outdoor commencement ceremonies


If you are considering an outdoor commencement ceremony, you do need to be sure that social distancing guidelines are followed. There will be a cap on the number of participants allowed to attend, so; you might consider a live stream of the ceremony. We are still here to build stages, handle your audio, and even help you with live streaming the event. Be sure to reach out to us soon, so we can help you start planning and get things moving.

Vehicle commencement ceremonies


Vehicle commencement ceremonies will typically require that student and their families drive up to receive a photo of their graduate with their diploma. Parents will more than likely stay in the vehicle, or practice social distancing by taking pictures from six feet away. This could be an opportunity for you to live stream the ceremony, so let our experts know if you want to learn more.

At In Depth Events, we have all of the equipment, staging, audio, and expertise to help you through the planning of your school's commencement ceremony (regardless of the type). 

We are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines to ensure we offer safe and sanitary equipment, service, and guidance.