"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’.
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.
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.