Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

#WeMakeEvents launches campaign to highlight the existential threat to the sector, and writes open letter to Rishi Sunak demanding urgent action to prevent collapse

Today, #WeMakeEvents launches a hard-hitting campaign, rallying the UK Government to provide urgent relief to a struggling live events sector. The Government Can’t See Us, Can You? shows the devastation the pandemic has wrought on the live event supply chain – told through the stories of the highly-skilled professionals whose livelihoods have been seriously damaged. #WeMakeEvents is calling on the Government – in an open letter to Rishi Sunak – to halt the destruction of the sector by recognising the impact of the pandemic on the live event supply chain, to support individuals and businesses to survive while they cannot work, and to engage with the sector to develop a plan for reopening, including Government-backed COVID-19 cancellation insurance.  

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The campaign is also asking the public to contribute their voices and opinions through social media and by writing to their MP – urging the Government to address this crippling situation now. Until Government social distancing restrictions came into effect in March 2020, the UK live events industry brought in over £70 billion a year and supported over 700,000 jobs. The live event supply chain worked across all types of live event, including theatre, music, corporate events, festivals and almost any form of organised gatherings.

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

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However, with all but no live events being able to take place for almost a year, the sector is on its knees – as shown by #WeMakeEvents’ recent survey of over 2,800 businesses and individuals in the live event supply chain: 

  • 93% of individuals and businesses in the live event supply chain have seen their income fall dramatically as a result of the pandemic – 65% have seen a fall of over 50%, and 30% a fall of over 90%
  • Yet, 34% of individuals and businesses have received no Government support – either through loans, furlough, or local or national grants. Many of those that have received support, report it is inadequate
  • As a result, 50% of individuals have had to take work outside of live events to supplement their income. A third have been forced to leave – or are considering leaving – the sector
  • On top of that, 43% of live event supply chain businesses say they don’t have the resources to last until the summer

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

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Peter Heath, #WeMakeEvents steering committee member and MD of PLASA (Professional Lighting and Sound Association), said: “The live event supply chain has been all but unable to work for almost a year – we have been one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. Yet, we have received no targeted assistance and been excluded from much of the support said to be for businesses that are unable to open. As a result, the live event supply chain is on the brink of collapse.  

“This can be stopped if the Government sees the human and economic devastation being inflicted on the live events supply chain, extends the whole sector the lifelines we need to survive until it is safe for live events to reopen, and works with us to build a practical roadmap for reopening. We hope this campaign moves the Government to take these vital steps.”  

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

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Julian Knight MP, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said: “It’s hugely disappointing that almost a year since stages went dark, the skilled professionals making up our world leading creative sector are still falling through the cracks of Government support.

“The DCMS Committee continues to hear evidence on the severe impact the pandemic has had on those in live event supply chains, in our inquiry into the support needed to save the 2021 season of festivals. 

“I hope this serves as a catalyst to the Government taking the steps it so urgently needs to, including backing COVID-19 cancellation insurance.” 

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

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Neil Hunt, founder of ZigZag Lighting, said: “Our industry came to an abrupt halt in March last year. We were mid-way through a tour and it had to be cancelled. Trying to survive without work has put immense pressure on us as a business and on me personally. 

“Initially, there was some optimism as we thought we could return to work last year. That didn’t happen, and now it has been almost a year without work. We really need support from the Government to help us keep our heads above water. Otherwise, there won’t be an industry for us to go back to.”

Hard hitting new campaign launched by #WeMakeEvents, as survey shows live event supply chain on verge of collapse

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About #WeMakeEvents 

Our industry is important and contributes billions of pounds each year to the UK economy. Due to COVID-19 it needs immediate help. We want our future to continue to create millions of memories with the stories to match – it’s what we do best.

Without significant and immediate support, the entire live entertainments sector supply chain is at risk of collapse. #WeMakeEvents is a campaign to raise public, government and media awareness in support of the live events sector which employs over circa 1,000,000 highly skilled people in the UK, all of whom have had no work for the past four months, with little likelihood of restarting until Spring 2021.

The campaign is being run by a large and growing industry collective of trade bodies, businesses and freelancers affected by the shutdown, all working together. It spans online and social messaging, video, case studies and legal outdoor events to gain media attention, with specific activities having occurred on 11th August and the Global Action Day on 30th September, our voice is beginning to be heard. 

Our aim is to have significant financial support extended for the people and companies in this sector until they can return to work. We call on you to stand as one, unitied in our common cause to save our industry. Join our campaign #WeMakeEvents to get the UK Government to act now for immediate and sustained financial support by visiting #WeMakeEvents. 

Sign. Share. Call. Record.

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