This blog was written on Friday March 27th, 2020 one week into mandated quarantine.
Like most busy weeks at the Xplosive Entertainment office, the days leading to close out February were crazy. We were busy preparing for the upcoming weekend’s events. Simultaneously, we were meeting with potential new clients, writing proposals, and always exploring of ways to build the brand. Glancing back at my emails and calendar…
- This was an eight-event weekend
- We were putting the finishing touches on closing THREE last minute GIANT events that were only days away, yet each were within the top 5 highest billed events in our history.
- We just completed, a great corporate team building/game night event at one of our favorite corporate hotels with 120 guests from across the country.
- We also just created a new program for our office team to work four-day work weeks giving them a little break midweek since each of these rock stars also works weekends, performing at events.
Corona, to most, was a great summertime beer. There was an occasional mutter of a “new” thing called the Corona Virus, but other than those traveling abroad, it wasn’t really on anyone’s radar in our world.
The following week lead to the weekend of March 7th. Sunday, March 8th we changed the clocks for daylight savings. This was also an eight-event weekend. I was, personally, very excited to perform in Philadelphia at an incredible venue called “World Café Life” which is known as one of Philadelphia’s top live concert venues. That night, our team worked hard and we kicked the “sh-t out of the party.” One thing was off though. Our MC wasn’t feeling well. In fact, he got sick twice at the party. But like a rock star, he pushed through and nobody but our own staff knew. As I normally do, on my drive home, I caught up with our other teams. Strangely, I learned one of our other MCs also got sick that night. He too pushed through and rocked his event. Coincidence. Yes, likely. Our events the night of March 7th were incredible. Each team was more proud of their performance than the next. Sunday March 8th, I woke up to a voice message from one of the three top billed events (mentioned above) noting the need to postpone due to Corona virus. Although we were super bummed by this, we also knew his guests they had most guests flying in from Cali and the Korea. We knew very little about the Corona virus, but we knew it was affecting travel, so the postponement was well warranted.
Monday March 9th, we returned to the office. Due to the new four-day work week, one of the employees was home. Another, one of the MCs who was sick over the weekend called out ill. We didn’t think much of it. It’s not uncommon to be simply beat up after a busy weekend and difficult to fight off a weekend bug. Although we lost one of the big events we were expecting, the partners at Xplosive were on a high from the success of the past weekend and knew they had some really big weekends coming up! Cash was coming in. We met the following day Tuesday March 10th, and discussed hiring someone new to help with sales and marketing. We explored billboard options to help our marketing efforts. We debated new equipment to purchase and new products to build. We were on top of the world! We were biting our nails waiting for a signature and deposit from the other top billed event, a 1 three-day event starting March 18th revolving around the highly anticipated March Madness basketball tournament.
But, things were suddenly getting strange quickly. The following day, Wednesday March 11th, the NCAA announced that March Madness was canceled. Normally, I wouldn’t care, as I’m not a sports fan, but, here went the other giant event that we were just about to close.
Now we were starting to worry about this Corona thing a bit more and contemplating how it may impact our next few weeks. Fortunately, the weekend of March 14th was a slow weekend. In fact, we were excited for the only little break before back-to-back insane Spring weekends. I should also note, of the two employees sick the weekend prior, one was perfectly fine and think it was just food poisoning. The other MC however, was still out sick and glad this was a slow weekend. I left the office early on Friday since we were slow. I picked up my daughter from school. She came home with a full book bag of paperwork sent home from the school in case they decided to close. There were rumors of the possibility, but I thought for sure a public school wouldn’t close.
Saturday March 14th, 11am I received a robo-call from my daughter’s school saying they (like most schools) are closing for two weeks and we parents were now going to have to “home school” our kids. Sunday the 15th, we got together with another group of friends and discussed the insanity, yet the kids played together… the adults ate and drank socially. It was a fun and typical weekend gathering.
Monday the 16th the flood gates opened. While working from home and trying to home school my daughter, the phones and emails didn’t stop. (We had 12 events scheduled on Saturday the 21st and 10 events Saturday the 28th). Each and every one seemed to have called us frantically about the options to cancel or postpone. Rapid response was to quickly issue a plan/strategy. We posted a page on our website outlining our policy. Our phones were ringing off the hook. Interestingly, competitors were calling too. “What are you doing?” “How are you handling this?” “Can we work together and ensure we are all aligned in our approach?” The industry banded together like never before. It was magical to see.
The rest of the week was a big blur of moving events on the calendar as if they were pieces in a jigsaw puzzle.
Friday March 20th was finally upon us. And it was eerie. We should have been packing trucks, testing montages, triple checking planning forms. Yet…. The office was closed. There were NO events. We were all home. The only sign of a DJ was the massive influx of DJs mixing live on Facebook from their home.
The next week rolled on. This week, however was much slower paced than the prior. The mass hysteria of postponed events seemed to slow a bit. The office remained closed. The biggest difference now was that we have been forced to stay home, mandated by law actually. Now we have an efficient system in place for rescheduling clients. May and June clients are calling; some making definite changes, and others just being inquisitive about options.
Today is March 27th as I’m writing this. In addition to last week’s events postponing, this week and the next eight weeks have virtually all been postponed. Presently there are a few events lingering for the end of April, but they are expected to reschedule. Most of the May and June clients are now calling as well concerned. On this Friday, my concerns have shifted. What am I going to do with my daughter to keep her educated and occupied when schools and virtually everything around us have shut their doors.
This is the new norm for the time being. We cannot wait to get back to our passion of performing at events. We have the most amazing clients, the most talented staff, and truly the best profession one could ever ask for. It’s times like this that we realize how fortunate we are. We will look at all events differently in the future. In fact, the look of events will be different in the future. We just don’t know yet what this means.