An event called Covid-19: the closing ceremony
It has a festival name, but it was never announced. It is global, but we don't know who its organiser is, nor what to expect from its performers. It's Covid-19 and it's here to stay.
But if there is one thing that we have not lost yet during this pandemic, it was the ability to dream. In fact, in the several years that I’ve worked more closely in events, it was always the process that most excited me - creating from scratch and dreaming about what could be. And if there was an event in which I would like to be able to participate in, it would be in the design of the Covid ‑ 19 Closing Ceremony.
It would be a mix of Live Aid with the opening of the Olympic Games in terms of impact. A scenic celebration à la Burning Man for burning face masks.
A celebration that would add the magic of Rio Carnival, with the scenography of the Chinese New Year Celebration mixed with the artistic quality of the Superbowl break.
A way to connect the entire world population in this victory that would mark the end of the menace of contagion.
And opening up with the possibility of us all touching without fear - which would mark an incredible transformation in our society, the end of fear. In fact, it would be the celebration of the end of fear. The possibility of us all breathing freely again, without covering our faces. And of looking at each other in the eye without masks.
And with broadcast to all platforms and channels.
It wouldn't be for a day or a week, but for a whole month. As if the spirit of the Expo'98 closing ceremony could have lasted 30 days, or the feeling of being European football champions didn’t disappear from our bodies for four weeks. Above all, I would want to guarantee a global emotional detox that would put an end to disbelief and bring back joy to everyone.
Football stadiums would be bursting with fans, in euphoria. All pavilions, squares and parks would be filled with live music. Theatres, museums, libraries and cinemas would be open 24 hours so that we could recover everything that was left to see, to read and to applaud. A kind of global revenge against all the time we spent away from each other.
I imagine the streets of the main capitals with people hugging, in a kind of Pride Parade that celebrated life during the day, mixed with a Día de los Muertos that honoured with dignity those who left, during the night.
There would be rave parties, sunset parties, after parties in all bars and clubs and after dancing we would go to food festivals on streets closed just for that purpose. It would be the spirit of Mardi Gras but with the cathartic ritual of Tomatina, to clear from our heads the WHO alerts and the statistics of those infected and dead.
During the entire period of the celebration, Zoom, Google meet and Skype meetings would be cancelled.
And thus a new Era of humanity would start, saying the due goodbyes to the old world in a celebration that would exorcise all our demons as a 'covidic' society.
This End of Fear Festival would be an ode to man's capacity for reinvention, a demonstration that we had all been able to join forces to define a much more interconnected world to live in. And all of this in close contact and live, with hugs and kisses. No masks and no restrictions.
And, as my friend Pedro Rodrigues would say, “Life in events is believing that it is possible to do the impossible. Event after event, day after day”. And I still like to believe in dreams... especially in the impossible ones.
Tiago Canas Mendes Partner d’o escritório
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