As previously reported, today marks the Red Alert day of action driven by the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which is raising the alarm for the live events and entertainment sector. Today’s events across the UK are aimed at forcing the government to support the industry in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As we reported last week, unless swift action is taken, up to 114,000 jobs in the live events sector are now at risk, according to #WeMakeEvents. A major concern is that only 50 per cent of companies have capital to get them through the next four months, meaning that by the end of the year these businesses will not be in a position to open.
In London today, journalists and politicians have been invited to board a boat at Westminster Pier, from where they will sail through a series of ‘arenas’ which will feature many of the capital’s iconic landmarks, all lit up red in solidarity. Industry members are also being encouraged to line up, socially distanced, on river banks and bridges to create a Red Alert route. In key locations supporters will lower down red rope lights to the boat as it passes, to symbolise ‘throwing us a line’.
Those who have signed up to the event and are part of the route are asked to wear a red t-shirt and download the MyLight – Flashlight app to turn their phone into a red flashlight.
It is also mandatory to wear a face covering throughout the event.
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Andy Dockerty, managing director of Adlib, said: “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 1 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.”
In addition to the London event, regional events are also taking place in Blackpool, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, and Tunbridge Wells.
Industry bodies now involved in #WeMakeEvents include: the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), the ALD – The People in Performance Lighting, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), Association of Sound Designers (ASD), Community Leisure UK, Creu Cymru, Curtain Call Online, the Federation of Scottish Theatre (FST), Freelancers Make Theatres Work, the Institute of Sound & Communications Engineers (ISCE), MUTA, the MIA, the Music Venues Trust (MVT), the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA), Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), PLASA, Production Managers Forum (PMF), Production Services Association (PSA), Society of London Theatre (SOLT) & UK Theatre, Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA) and Theatre & Dance Northern Ireland.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused untold damage to the events sector. Mass gatherings of all kinds have been cancelled with no date in sight for their return, while mass redundancies and cancelled projects for freelancers have left many out of work.
Last week it was confirmed that AVIXA had made mass redundancies across the organisation due to the pandemic. It also stated that ti doesn’t know when trade shows are going to return, raising questions over the AVIXA-run ISE show will take place in Barcelona next February.
Last month, Sennheiser also announced that it would be cutting 650 jobs by 2020 on account of Covid-19.