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World of Concrete's 2019 show used space in the parking lot at Las Vegas Convention Center

Big In-Person Events to Act as an Industry Bellwether

World of Concrete starts this weekend in Las Vegas with relaxed Covid-safety rules, while the influential C2 Montreal conference announces its return to F2F in October.

Now that Las Vegas has reopened to full capacity at all indoor venues (as of June 1), much of the meeting, convention, and trade-show industry will keep a close watch starting this Sunday on the largest citywide event in the country since the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020: World of Concrete.

The show, operated by Informa Markets (part of Informa PLC, MeetingsNet’s parent company), won’t see the 60,000 attendees it typically draws, nor will it allow full capacity in the space it will occupy at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Based on the number of Teamsters Local 631 members who will set up and tear down the show—about 500 rather than the usual 1,500—the union told The Washington Post that it estimates attendance will approach half the number seen in 2019.

World of Concrete will operate under a previously agreed-upon limit of 80 percent capacity and will enforce social distancing of three feet between participants, according to The Washington Post article. However, proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test will not be required of attendees and exhibitors—and mask-wearing will be recommended but not mandatory. Donna Bellantone, executive vice president for infrastructure and construction for Informa Markets, told The Washington Post that show management considered requiring attendees to be vaccinated, but a survey of potential attendees indicated that would negatively affect attendance. 

For safety precautions, the three-day show will feature show aisles that are nearly double the standard width as well as temperature screenings at the entrance and hand-sanitizing stations throughout the show floor. One encouraging statistic: The largest casino-hotels on the Strip say that vaccination rates among the employees they have brought back to work is between 80 and 90 percent.

One other event going back to F2F that will draw the attention of meeting and event planners is C2 Montreal. Typically conducted in May, it will be held as a hybrid event from October 19-21 and October 26-28. In 2019, more than 7,000 people attended C2 Montreal at Grande Studios, a 200,000-square-foot studio space with 60-foot ceilings that’s located on the grounds of the former Grand Trunk Railways yards. 

With a 2021 conference theme of “(Re)” tied to this moment of reconvening, reengaging, and reimagining, C2 Montreal is designed to spur creative thinking and new ideas for business growth, including creating better business events. The conference is known for its heavy use of artistic presentation elements to go along with unusually designed gathering spaces.

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