The Future is Experiential: Seven Experts on What’s Next

In today’s experiential ecosystem, it’s getting harder to tell reality from imagination — and no one’s more excited to keep blurring those lines than the storytellers behind the scenes. Motivated by technology, creativity, and maybe just a sprinkle of masochism, we’re embarking on a new era of events and experiences to bring people together while simultaneously pushing them outside of their comfort zones. But how do we get there? What does the future look like?

Members of the XP Land XLIST 2023 Council — industry leaders from CEOs to creative curators  — shared what excites them most about the future of experiential, including how to raise participant vibrations, the exciting (yet slightly terrifying) rise of the Metaverse and why creativity will rule the day.

What excites you most about experiential’s future?

Ana De Archuleta, Managing Director, National Sawdust

What excites me most about experiential’s future is the potential for even greater collaboration between artists and scientists, pushing the boundaries of what we thought was possible. Additionally, the participatory nature of experiential entertainment makes it more engaging and memorable than traditional forms of entertainment. I look forward to seeing how this field will continue to evolve and inspire creativity in both creators and audiences alike.

The audience experiences spatial sound at National Sawdust. Image courtesy Walter Wlodarczyk.

Alexa Carr, Editorial Programmer-at-Large, XP Land

It’s exciting — and a little scary — to imagine how metaverse and metaverse-adjacent technologies will change experiential. Lots of experimentation is happening right now, and I can’t wait to see what else will bear out as the tech becomes more sophisticated and ubiquitous.

Johan Vakidis, Chief Creative Officer at C2

How being together and gathering will be capable of manifesting itself. It will be grand, and to me, it will only increase in desirability and importance.

Festival of Sport sponsored by Nike China

Harry Julmice, CEO, Never Was Average

I think people — now more than ever — are looking to reconnect, but with more intentionality. They are very careful with how they spend their time, where they invest their energy, and who they surround themselves with. They want experiences that will change their lifestyle and empower them. Standards are much higher than before the pandemic. So now brands have to do more to better connect with their audiences.

Experiential raises human vibrations. Divine experiences have the power to heal hearts, repair the imagination and bring us back into a peaceful place. It’s the new path to creativity and community building, and I’m inspired by the potential of reconnecting communities around the world through innovative experiential initiatives.

Dan Pelson, COO, AREA15

Just how people are realizing that creativity will rule the day. The most successful businesses will be those that put creativity and experiences first. The most successful nations will be those that develop a culture that thrives on creativity.

Image courtesy AREA15

Louisa St. Pierre, Global Director of Art, Digital & Experiential at MA+Group

I love the catalyst effect the pandemic had on digital solutions, and how that’s been embraced now we’re back to the physical world. Hurrah for the return of the QR code! Not a fan of the term phygital, but that interplay between digital, whether it’s AR, AI, or some kind of smart data capture, and an IRL experience, to extend the engagement and further build community, has got to be valuable.

Charlie Melcher, Founder & CEO, Future of Storytelling (FoST)

What really excites me is the possibility that people will be able to learn better and connect with one another more powerfully. As we move into this age of even richer shared experiences, they will help people understand things, ourselves and others better. We’ll have more empathy. Experiential is transforming the world, and we’re still at the beginning. These are exciting days, and I can’t wait for this art form to reveal its full power.

FoST Explorers Club, Wonderland and Dream. Photo courtesy: FoST

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Experiential Is Everything

XP Land is for experiential creatives and experience-makers, brand leaders, and IP-owners, space stewards and venue visionaries — all those in the business of epic gatherings and live, immersive storytelling.