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"THROW US A LINE"

Yesterday’s #WeMakeEvents call to action focused on raising awareness for over a million professionals working in the technical side of the entertainment industry who have either lost or are at imminent risk of losing their jobs – 600,000 of whom deliver live events, and around 70 per cent of the workforce is freelance. The government’s £1.57 billion investment to the cultural and art institutions will not reach the key workers from the industry, and the imminent closure of the self-employed income support scheme at the end of the month further threatens their livelihood.

Over 715 buildings across the UK lit up in red yesterday to symbolise the current danger that over one million people in the live events industry face unless the government provides immediate financial support.

Twenty of the UK’s biggest cities hosted events to raise awareness of the struggling supply chain that facilitate events across the country – from theatre to concerts. From Minack Theatre Cornwall to The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Principality Stadium Cardiff and the Millennium Forum Northern Ireland. In Manchester, two hundred technicians pushed redundant flight cases through the city centre as they observed COVID-19 protocols.

The capital’s finale began on a boat at 20:30, as it made its way down the Thames – passing Royal Festival Hall, the London Eye, the National Theatre and the Tate all illuminated red. As the boat reached key locations, such as Westminster Bridge and Jubilee Bridge – hundreds of volunteers dressed in red and 4000 socially distanced supporters lined up on the banks of the Thames in the capital to ask the government to ‘throw us a line’.

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Performances from legendary Level 42 frontman Mark King and Folk singer Frank Turner were also on display on the boat as it made its way to a lit Tate Modern displaying “Throw us a line”. Unlike other industries, events, festivals, and performances have been unable to safely reopen due to social distancing guidance, and may not reopen until early 2021 – and opening times keep being pushed back. With no government support on the horizon for the event supply chain, redundancies have already begun. Research indicates that 25 per cent of companies will have served redundancy notices by the end of August, rising to 70 per cent by the end of December.

Award-winning rock band, The Cure, comments: “The events sector urgently needs government support to survive the COVID-19 crisis. Without major, immediate support from the government, the entire live events sector supply chain is at risk of collapse. The aim is to have financial support extended for the people and companies in this sector until they can return to work. “

Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, comments: “The live events industry supply chain, essential to every single event in the UK, is set to completely collapse without financial support from the government, due to social distancing prohibiting mass events. Large scale events are not expected to reopen until Spring 2021 at the earliest, and the reality is that the sector can’t wait that long. While the Government’s commitment to providing £1.57bn to our crown jewels is welcomed, this does not help the companies and freelancers who work in the live events supply chain. We’ve issued a ‘Red Alert’ for #WeMakeEvents because the sector is on its last legs, and now the whole industry is coming together to ask the government to ‘throw us a line.”

Andy Dockerty
, Managing Director of Adlib, comments: “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 11 August.”

James Gordon, Managing Director of DiGiCo, comments, “It was great to see the industry coming together in a controlled way. The aim was to demonstrate the plight of the skilled freelancers working within our industry and the companies in the supply chain that put on the best shows in the world. I think we achieved that, but there’s more work to do.”

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To facilitate this event, over nineteen trade associations from the live events sector collaborated for the first time to help save their industry. The initial #WeMakeEvents campaign by PLASA issued a ‘Red Alert’ last week, to symbolise the imminent danger the industry is in.

International support from celebrities such as Nile Rodgers, Peter Gabriel, New Order, Frank Skinner, Leona Lewis, The Cure, Frank Turner, Paloma Faith, Imogen Heap, Doc Brown, and Trevor Horn all helped to raise awareness, in the hope the UK’s world-renowned live events industry can stay afloat.

To find out more visit the #WeMakeEvents webpage here.