Live Events Tech Firm Worldstage Folds; A Business Victim Of COVID-19

February 25, 2022 by Dave Haynes

The pandemic has clobbered a lot of businesses in the past two years, and one of the hardest hit has been the live events industry. Lockdowns and health safety limitations have meant countless concerts, games, events and business gatherings didn’t happen, as planned or at all, and the AV and staging people who set those kinds of events up, run them and then tear  them down didn’t have work.

One of the biggest and most respected companies in the event technology services was unable to weather the two year storm, and this week WorldStage let its customers and business partners know it was ceasing business operations.

There’s no official word on the NYC-based company’s website, but one of its VPs pushed out a message on Facebook. Industry watcher Live Design relayed the news of the company having to shut down and lay off all employees:

Terry Jackson, 30-year industry veteran and vice president, director of lighting at WorldStage, announced on Facebook, “Over the last two years, WorldStage has done everything it could to enable it to continue as a viable business —but due to an unprecedented unstable industry, where we all faced increasingly improbable odds for success, WorldStage regretfully has decided to cease business operations, as of February 21, 2022.”

He went on to say: “Know that I appreciate the time, energy, and effort of every single person that has graced our doors over the years. More than most will ever know.”

Not a digital signage firm, I know, but WorldStage and its people used a lot of the same display, projection, audio and mounting technologies as permanent pro AV and signage jobs, deal with the same suppliers, and attend many of the same trade shows (like InfoComm and ISE). One of that industry’s main trade shows – LDI – will run concurrently this fall with Digital Signage Experience (same show owners).

AVIXA’s pro-AV business index tracks the state of activity and through the pandemic has noted the particular struggle of companies that are all about pulling the technology and visuals together for short-term events. Successive virus waves and particularly Omicron’s rapid spread converted a lot of gatherings to virtual, and caused severe problems for some service providers.

I’m thinking Omicron was the killer, as the company’s social media streams suggest it was hiring as recently as December 2021.

If you look through Worldstage’s project portfolio, you’ll see very quickly these guys were masters at their craft. Such a shame.

Update: In an interesting twist, one of the company’s founders posted on Linkedin that this didn’t have to happen and that the pandemic was not the company-killer, it was the current owners and execs.

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