Ludovic Rossignol, Founder Of Balance Festival On: The Return Of Live Wellness Events

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Following a covid-enforced hiatus, London’s Balance Festival is gearing up for its long-awaited return this November. And the fourth iteration of the pioneering wellness event aims to deliver its most impactful experience yet.

Known for connecting health-conscious consumers and industry professionals with the brands shaping the future of the wellness industry, this year’s three-day festival, due to take place at London’s Truman Brewery from 12th to 14th November, will be one of the first major wellness events to run following the shutdown of live events across the UK.

And it plans to make up for consumer thirst for in-person wellness events by delivering meaningful social moments, elevated experiences, and lasting memories.

2021’s packed lineup will feature big names and brands including Alice Liveing and Michael James Wong, Barry’s, Theragun, Barrecore and more. On Friday 12th November, Balance Festival’s Industry LAB will also bring together respected brands, fast-growing startups, next-generation thinkers and wellness trend forecasters to share their market insights.

Despite the challenges the team behind the festival have faced over the past 18 months, Founder Ludovic Rossignol is confident that Balance Festival will be able to bring brands, entrepreneurs and consumers together safely to celebrate what has now become a multi-billion dollar industry.

In the run-up to the event, we sat down with Rossignol to discuss how the last 18 months have impacted Balance Festival, what guests can expect in terms of health and safety measures and why he believes live events like this have an important role to play in the recovery of society…….

It’s been a long and challenging period since Balance Festival last took place in 2019, how have you navigated the prolonged uncertainty around running live events?

The event industry has certainly been challenged and we are no exception. However, we are finally on the right track and can see the end of the tunnel! Throughout the pandemic, our team has done a tremendous job of keeping our community engaged and stimulated with our Balance Edit newsletter and Futureminded Virtual event series (which focuses on our B2B audience).  

On the Balance Festival side, I really wish I could share an amazing story about how we pivoted and digitised the Festival, but we didn’t. We felt that the last thing the world needed was another reason to spend more time online. At heart, we are curators of live environments — real human connections are the pinnacle of what we do.  

We’ve certainly developed patience as a virtue and have mastered the art of scenario planning! But we are back now, and we cannot wait to welcome everyone to The Truman Brewery for Balance Festival on 12th – 14th November 2021. The event kicks off with an industry day on the 12th (industry members can apply for free tickets here) and we’re really excited to have everyone in the world of wellness under one roof again.

Ludovic Rossignol, Founder Of Balance Festival On: The Return Of Live Wellness Events

Image: Balance Festival

What are some of the lessons you’ve learnt throughout this experience?

Although the pandemic has changed the way we shop, work and behave physically as a society, we cannot replace face-to-face human connections. More than ever, live events will play an instrumental role in creating meaningful social moments, elevated experiences, and lasting memories.

It’s a very different landscape now, can you share more about how this will impact the running of Balance Festival this year?

We’ve just finished running the London Coffee Festival which saw 20,000 people visit The Truman Brewery across four days. Everything went smoothly and we were amazed at everyone’s appetite to get back to the Festival. Balance is no different.

The safety of all visitors, exhibitors, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders is paramount. And Covid protocols will be in place to make sure we deliver a quality festival in a totally safe environment.

We have reduced capacity by 25% and introduced staggered entry times with different sessions each day. We will have deep cleaning and enhanced sanitation in place, and will operate a contactless payment policy.

Through the NHS app, attendees will need to demonstrate proof of a completed course of vaccination, or a negative PCR or Lateral Flow Test result taken within 48hrs of arrival.

What else can guests can expect from the festival offering this year?

We’re launching a new food concept called Feelgood Kitchen. It’s a brand new service that delivers natural, plant-rich, dairy-free and gluten-free meals (made by Michelin-star-trained chefs) to your freezer. 

Balance attendees will be able to sample some Feelgood food, and we’ve prepared something special that involves a secret entry door and a tasting experience to remember. More on that soon!

On top of that, the main stage line-up is full of heart-raising and mood-boosting sessions. We’ve got some of the best yoga practitioners attending and spaces for mediation and industry panels. There really is something for everyone this year — whether you want to work out, meet new brands, or hear about the industry trends for 2022.

Ludovic Rossignol, Founder Of Balance Festival On: The Return Of Live Wellness Events

Image: Feelgood Kitchen

Do you think there’s a place for a virtual element when it comes to Balance Festival moving forward, and why?

There is a place for virtual events in this world but, when it comes to a celebration like Balance Festival, you just can’t replicate the infectious energy of our event on a screen. Let alone recreate the serendipitous experiences and encounters our visitors enjoy at the Festival. For the time being (fingers crossed), we’ll just stick to live events.

In terms of wellness in general, what are some of the new opportunities you think have emerged out of the pandemic?

Covid has propelled wellness into the mainstream. What would have happened in five years, happened in a matter of months. Wellness and personal wellbeing have incrementally become key consumption drivers across all categories. Finding ways of contributing to a customer’s wellbeing is one of the most important things any brand can do right now.

There is also a growing public consciousness and a desire to buy from brands that care — brands that do good for the environment, society, and their community. 

We have also seen a huge opportunity for brands to go direct and skip the middleman. D2C is here to stay and will continue to grow, as will hyper-localism and the importance of being locally relevant as a brand. 

And lastly, what are you most excited about when it comes to the return of Balance Festival this year?

Catching up with old friends, making new ones, and just celebrating the world of wellness. We’ve all been through a lot, and this year’s Festival is a chance to remember what makes the UK’s wellness scene so special: the people in it.

If you work in the wellness industry, you can apply for free tickets here.

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