“Gigs will go dark” – Petition launched against EU ‘threat’ to venue lighting

"For smaller venues, this would be ruinous"

A new petition has been launched to combat EU regulations that production professionals claim pose a direct and “immediate” threat to all live concert lighting.

Over 35,000 people have signed the Change.org petition, calling  on EU Cultural and Energy directorates to prevent all stage lighting equipment from falling under new legislations which would prohibit their manufacturing and sale – claiming that these changes are “an enormous threat to the way theatrical productions are presented”.

The  #savestagelighting campaign argues that Tungsten and Arc light bulbs would rapidly become unavailable, meaning that most lighting fixtures across the majority of UK venues will become obsolete.

“For larger venues, this would be both hard to budget for and impossible to implement within the next two years,” reads the petition. “For smaller venues, it would be ruinous. They would, quite literally, go dark.”

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“This is a very real crisis,” Association of Lighting Designers President Richard Pilbrow told The Guardian. “No existing entertainment lighting equipment presently meets the new theoretical power requirement.

“If, in 18 months, such equipment were to be invented – an aim apparently pushing beyond the boundaries of physics today – it would certainly cost as much as five to 10 times the equipment it replaces. This is, therefore, a potential financial disaster at best, and an artistic and practical catastrophe for every theatre in the land.”

Meanwhile, lighting designer Tim Routledge added that this was a very serious threat to the live music economy too. He also argued that Brexit would have little impact on the changes, as they would be enforced before the UK leaves the EU and would still be enforced for UK and international acts touring in Europe.

“This directive on theatrical lighting will not only leave theatres in the dark but also every music venue, arena, music festival and touring concert production across Europe,” he wrote in The Guardian. “As a very well established lighting designer designing tours for acts such as Beyoncé, Sam Smith, Take That, ELO and many more, the news of this regulation is terrifying.”

He continued: “Lighting in shows helps to convey emotion, drama and energy and while the artist is always at the centre of what we do, performing in the O2 in the stark light of the cleaners’ work lights will not quite offer audiences the same exciting experience.”

An EU public consultation period on the measure will run until May 7.