Events industry plans global day of action tomorrow

WeMakeEvents image Manchester Central Library – Dbn Audile (LX) & Just Beam It (Lasers)

A campaign which has gone worldwide to help generate greater government support for the events industry in light of the devastating effects of COVID-19, is planning a global day of action tomorrow.

The #WeMakeEvents campaign says that 30 million people in 25 countries would usually work in the events industry, but with social distancing measures in place, there is no possibility of a financially viable return for the foreseeable future.

In the UK, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s figures state the Cultural Sector’s value exceeds £100 billion and was the fastest growing sector in 2017 and in 2018, the outdoor events industry attracted a staggering 141.5 million visitors. But the sector does not receive arts grants, which means that the recent £1.57 billion bailout is not reaching the highly skilled people, manufacturers or the huge supply chain of businesses that enable the sector to operate. When this supply chain is taken into account, the number of people affected nears one million.

Cheltenham Town Hall will play host to a peaceful demonstration tomorrow when the building will be lit in red for the local #lightitinred campaign.

Across the globe from 8pm local time, thousands of venues and places of work will #LightItInRed alongside unique projections, art installations and outreach to government officials and media to raise awareness and drive change. Other venues involved in Cheltenham include Playhouse Theatre, #ACotswoldCollaboration (pre lit by Oasis Events), Sandford Parks Lido and Cheltenham College.

The demonstration is open to all event industry freelancers, full-time employees and business owners affected by the shutdown of events due to Covid-19. The organisers are emphasising that the gathering will be peaceful and will gather outside the town hall to stand still and quiet for half an hour. Everyone attending MUST register online for track & trace, bring masks and adhere to social distancing.

#WeMakeEvents is a non-political organisation which has a fundraising effort in the same name. It wants to hear concerns from those affected in the industry, so that such information can be collated to help persuade Parliament of the true challenge the sector faces.

Over the past weeks, events have happened around the world, including in the UK, U.S., Canada, Sweden, France, Germany and Spain, to raise awareness of those impacted in the event supply chain, from manufacturers, production companies, catering, transport, security and others, to the huge freelance community that works within the industry.

In the UK, the events sector wants to go back to work, but to do that it says it needs a Government backed COVID – 19 Insurance Scheme, to ensure if local lockdowns happen event organisers will recover costs and attendees will receive a refund.

It is also calling for government support for widespread proactive COVID -19 testing for event attendees, to give confidence to attendees and organisers that the event is safe and COVID – 19 Compliant and a three-year extension to the reduced cultural VAT rate on tickets in line with DCMS recommendations to stimulate the return of a viable event sector.

Until it can go back to work, and the industry is allowed to operate in a way that is not limited by social distancing, it is calling on the Government for grants – not loans – made available to businesses in the events supply chain, to allow companies the flexibility to allocate financial resources where they need it most and to enable them to keep employees, adding value to the UK economy and culture in the future and a specific job support scheme for live events supply chain until the government guidelines change on social distancing to allow a commercially viable return to work.

The majority of the industry has had no income since the beginning of the crisis in March, and with a global second wave of COVID-19 looking imminent, a date to return to work has become impossible to predict, leaving many companies and individuals devastated, both financially and personally.

The industry is now joining together as a worldwide force on the 30th September for a Global Day of Action. This marks the start of a new phase of the campaign which will continue to alert governments to the disastrous situation the sector says it faces.

At 8pm local time on 30th September, event professionals from thousands of cities across more than 25 countries will come together to Stand As One for the Global Day of Action.

The ‘baton’ will be passed across different time zones and feature creative activities, which include:

  • Shine a Light – strategically placed shafts of white light will be beamed into the night sky, with each one signifying potential job losses.
  • #LightItInRed – venues and structures will be illuminated red with the #WeMakeEvents signature expression of Red Alert.
  • Inside Out – images of what would have been taking place inside a venue will now be projected onto the outside of empty venues, reminding us what we are missing and what may never return.

Countries involved include: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, England, Faroe Islands, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Northern Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Philippines, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, USA, Wales.