Over 670 buildings, monuments, landmarks and structures all over the UK illuminated in ‘Emergency Red’ on Monday, July 6 as part of the #LightItInRed campaign, aimed at highlighting the challenges facing the events industry in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trending in Twitter’s top 3 trends on the night, the #LightItInRed campaign was organised in under a week by Steven Haynes from Clearsound Productions and Phillip Berryman from The Backstage Theatre Jobs Forum and was a massive success.
On the eve of the event, the government announced a £1.57 billion financial assistance package for arts and culture including live music venues, independent cinemas and heritage sites which has been widely welcomed by everyone.
However, there are question marks as to who will benefit from the package, and there has still been no mention of help for live events and the vast infrastructure of companies, services and people involved in serving this and the music industry.
“Shows and events stopped abruptly in March and we have yet to receive any kind of roadmap or timeline for restarting,” explained Haynes, “making it near impossible for businesses to plan their survival with no expectation of when they can expect cashflow.”
Haynes has organised several other lighting actions since the Covid-19 lockdown began, with #LightItInRed being the biggest so far.
Inspired by a similar lighting action in Germany at the end of June, he and Berryman gave themselves a week to organise the campaign, with momentum building organically via social media and through word-of-mouth.
Iconic structures illuminated in red included The Eden Project in Cornwall – where GLX lit all eight of the inter-linked geodesic transparent domes; Blackpool Tower, which turned its permanent LED lighting scheme red for the night; and the metal skeleton of Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in Somerset, which was lit via local rental company, Fineline.
The furthest North red installation on the UK mainland was Aberdeen Art Centre Aberdeen in Scotland and the furthest South the Apollo Theatre in Newport, Isle of Wight. To the West, it was the cliff-side location of the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, Penzance, and the eastward map point was The Seagull Theatre and the Players Theatre, both in Lowestoft.
Scotland was further represented in Edinburgh, where several companies, including Blacklight theatres and the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre), participated. The McCaig’s Tower in Oban was lit by OaE and there were installations in Glasgow, Ayr, Dalry and Kilmarnock and others including three venues on The Shetland Islands, which were the overall farthest north participants.
In Northern Ireland, theatres and arts centres took part, including the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine, which joined the Great Oak in Bangor Town, The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) and the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast with the Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre, Armagh also helping illuminate the province red for the night.
In Wales, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the west coast joined in, while in Swansea Total Sound Solutions lit their HQ and Swansea Grand Theatre went red. In Cardiff, several technical and event companies turned their bases red, including Stage Lighting Services, SWG Events, Production 78, and T&M Technical Services. Just over the Severn Bridge in Cwmbran, UK lighting control manufacturer Zero 88 turned its HQ and factory red in support.
In and around London, hundreds of #LightItInRed supporters highlighted buildings, including the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House, The Lyceum in the Strand, home to the Lion King and over the road, the south terrace of Somerset House turned its architectural scheme to red. Many other popular theatres and concert halls went red for the night, including the London Palladium and the Royal Albert Hall, together with numerous AV and technical production.
In Wigan, Leisuretec UK lit the full 131-metre width of the front elevation of the DW Stadium, while Academy Music Group activated the building lighting schemes on two of their venues – The O2 Guildhall Southampton and the O2 Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.
Brighton lit up 13 sites – from hotels and churches to theatres, clubs and live music venues – in what was a significant undertaking coordinated by Brighton EPIC with technical project management by Ian Baird of Whisky Bravo Productions. Companies involved included Select Security and Stewarding, SMART Power, E3 Events, C3 Productions, H2 Productions, Same Sky, Melting Vinyl and Reveries Events.
Other rental companies that took part include 4Wall UK, CPL, Colour Sound Experiment, GLS, Halo, Liteup, LCR, Neg Earth, Niclen UK, Peachy Productions, Spiral Stage Lighting and White Light among others.
PLASA also supported #LightItInRed and provided valuable statistics and research information.
Haynes commented: “It was very ambitious to organise a nationwide event in such a short space of time, and we were very fortunate to be working with the Backstage theatre Jobs community which spread the message far and wide and definitely contributed to the take up among theatres and arts venues! The overall response has been amazing. We want to thank each and every company, organisation and person who lit up, did, said and/or posted something in support.
“We hope that this has an impact and helps make politicians realise the importance of live events, music and performing arts, and the need for specialist sector-specific assistance for an industry that produces so much creativity, positive energy, thought provocation, entertainment, employment and commerce.”