PLASA, the lead association for the entertainment technology industry, and #WeMakeEvents, the global campaign to save live events, have published a detailed global survey report on the current position and future recovery of the live events industry, and it makes for worrying reading. The vast majority of respondents reported delays, shortages and cost increases, alongside huge decreases in annual turnovers.
Running from November 1 2021 to December 21 2021, the survey saw responses from 1,948 industry professionals in over 40 countries, and provides strong and clear evidence of the challenges currently facing the sector. The majority of respondents lack confidence in industry recovery within the next six months – perhaps even more startling considering the survey was conducted before the Omicron variant threatened the lucrative winter holiday season. However, there is cautious optimism from seven to 18 months, which mirrors the progress made when the live events industry re-opened in 2021.
The supply chain is in “complete disarray” according to PLASA, with shortages and delays across the board, whist a “shocking” 94% of manufacturers are experiencing delays in components, resulting in many being forced to source new suppliers and redesign products. The knock-on effects are felt by rental companies, venues, installers and distributors, with the vast majority facing delays in finished goods, cost increases, and unavoidable complications.
Adam Blaxill, chair of PLASA, commented: “Companies and freelancers are acutely aware that there is a long road to recovery in front of the live events industry. The last couple of years have been fraught with financial difficulty and unexpected challenges, and most people anticipate more hurdles to come. As a director of a company in the creative sector and as chair of PLASA, I call on the UK Government to recognise the complex challenges we face and assist in the recovery. We are renowned all over the world for what we do; our capability and the quality and creativity of our sector is world class, yet this survey clearly shows that it is being diminished – our capacity is declining and our talent is leaving!”
In the lead up to the traditionally busy summer season, the Live Events industry is faced with a “devastating” skills shortage, PLASA said, with 69% of companies reporting a lack of workers, particularly on-site roles such as engineers, technicians, crew and riggers. “These crucial shortages are forcing many to delay or cancel work, further losing revenue and opportunities,” said PLASA. “There is very little confidence that this picture will improve over the coming months, with the real risk of not meeting the increasing audience demand for live entertainment and cultural events throughout 2022.”
The pandemic caused an “exodus” of freelancers seeking work in other sectors, reported PLASMA, with 17% migrating into film & TV and only half returning to the live events industry full time. The organisation believes that sectors such as hospitality and leisure will feel the knock on economic effects as live events attracts significant revenues to them.
You can download the PLASA and #WeMakeEvents survey report for free at www.plasa.org/plasa-