Eventprofs gather in solidarity for #WeMakeEvents campaign

More than 700 buildings across the UK lit up in red on Tuesday (August 11) to draw attention to the fact that more than one million in the live events industry face losing their jobs unless the Government provides more financial support, immediately.

Tuesday’s #WeMakeEvents call to action focused on raising awareness for events professionals working in the technical side of the entertainment industry who have either lost, or are at imminent risk of losing their jobs – 600,000 of whom deliver live events, and around 70 per cent of the workforce are freelance. The Government’s imminent closure of the self-employed income support scheme at the end of the month further threatens their livelihood.

To highlight their plight, 20 of the UK’s biggest cities hosted events to raise awareness of the struggling supply chain that facilitate events across the country – from theatre to concerts. From Minnack Theatre Cornwall to The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Principality Stadium Cardiff and the Millennium Forum Northern Ireland. In Manchester, 200 technicians pushed redundant flight cases through the city centre as they observed COVID-19 protocols.

The finale began took place in London, on a boat at 8.30pm. It made its way down the Thames – passing Royal Festival Hall, the London Eye, the National Theatre and the Tate, all illuminated red. As the boat reached key locations, such as Westminster Bridge and Jubilee Bridge –hundreds of events professionals dressed in red and 4,000 socially distanced supporters lined up on the banks of the Thames in the capital to ask the Government to “throw us a line”.

Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance, and may not reopen until early 2021 – and opening times keep being pushed back. With no Government support on the horizon for the event supply chain, redundancies have already begun. Research indicates that 25 per cent of companies will have served redundancy notices by the end of August, rising to 70 per cent by the end of December.

To facilitate this event, more than 19 trade associations from the live events sector collaborated for the first time to help save their industry. The initial #WeMakeEvents campaign by PLASA issued a “Red Alert”, to symbolise the imminent danger the industry is in.

Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, commented: “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. While the Government’s commitment to provide £1.57 billion to our crown jewels is welcomed, this does not help the companies and freelancers who work in the live events supply chain.  We’ve issued a ‘Red Alert’ for #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’.”

Gary White, producer of #WeMakeEvents activities, said: “It is just overwhelming to witness the professionalism and dedication of everyone that was involved in producing this and those people who registered and responsibly came out to be seen and heard peacefully in London and in all regions across the UK.”