The UK live events industry will come together in solidarity tomorrow (Tuesday, August 11) for a day of action to raise awareness of the pandemic's devastating impact on the sector.
Hundreds of venues are set to turn their lights red, along with other creative activities being staged in over 20 cities across the UK to symbolise the industry going into red alert, and a final call to action titled Throw Us A Line will be taking centre stage on London’s South Bank.
Events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance and may not reopen until early 2021. With no government support on the horizon, redundancies have already begun - research indicates that 25% of companies will have served redundancy notices by end of August, rising to 70% by the end of December. The initial #WeMakeEvents campaign by PLASA (Professional Lighting and Sound Association) issued a ‘Red Alert’ last week, to symbolise the imminent danger to the business.
Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, said: “The live events industry supply chain, essential to every single event in the UK, is set to completely collapse without financial support from the government, due to social distancing prohibiting mass events. Large-scale events are not expected to reopen until spring 2021 at the earliest, and the reality is that the sector can’t wait that long. We’ve issued a ‘Red Alert’ after using #WeMakeEvents because the sector is on its last legs, and now the whole industry is coming together to ask the government to ‘throw us a line.’”
Over 19 trade associations from the live events sector are collaborating in the initiative. Big name artists Peter Gabriel, The Cure, and Imogen Heap have given their support to this cause, with others expected to join.
Gabriel said: “The live events sector employs over 600,000 highly skilled people in the UK - event production, audio, lighting, video, logistics, planning, transportation, and technology - over 70 per cent of which are freelancers. All of whom have had no work for the past four months, with little likelihood of restarting until Spring 2021 at the earliest.
“A lot of high arts have now been given some support, but people working on the festival side of things and in live events have been forgotten about, and I hope they are not forgotten about any longer. Around the UK they’ve created something which I think is the best in the world."
“Many of these people are freelancers, so don’t fall under furlough schemes. So right now, they are feeling the pinch very badly and if we want live events and festivals to stay an important British business then it needs to be supported."
The Cure added: “The events sector urgently needs government support to survive the Covid-19 crisis. Without major, immediate support from the government, the entire live events sector supply chain is at risk of collapse."
“The aim is to have financial support extended for the people and companies in this sector, until they can return to work. “
Andy Dockerty, MD of Adlib, added: “The events sector has been absolutely devastated by the Covid-19 crisis, and there are few signs of any significant restart in the near future. Without immediate support, the entire live events supply chain is at risk of collapse, and some one million highly skilled professionals face many more months of financial uncertainty.
"We need the government to understand the urgency of the situation, and so we call on industry members to make their voices heard and join us on the evening of August 11.”