The UK live events industry has taken part in what has been branded ‘Red Alert Day’ in order to raise awareness of its dire situation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tonight (August 11), hundreds of venues across 20 cities and towns in the UK, including London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester, have turned their lights on red in solidarity with the #WeMakeEvents campaign, symbolising the state of the industry while calling for sustained support from the government.
The Royal Festival Hall, Tate Modern, the London Eye, and the National Theatre are a few of the venues that have teamed with thousands of socially distanced volunteers to ask the government to “throw a line” to the sector.
Trade association PLASA (Professional Lighting and Sound Association) is asking that the government makes grants – not loans – available to businesses in the events supply chain, as well as extend the furlough scheme that ends in October until the industry is back to work. It is also asking the government to extend the self-employment scheme that is tailored towards the industry.
“This day of action aims to raise awareness of the events sector, which is worth £100 billion and employs up to one million people,” said a PLASA statement.
We can’t wait to see the events industry step out of the shadows for the #WeMakeEvents – Red Alert day of action on Tuesday!
— PLASA (@PlasaOnline) August 7, 2020
Peter Heath, PLASA managing director, said the live events industry supply chain “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,” added Heath. “The sector is on its last legs, and now the whole industry is coming together to ask the government to ‘throw us a line’.”
Last month, more than 1,500 artists and industry figures came together to call on the government to stop “catastrophic damage” to live music amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the launch of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
After months of campaigning from fans and the world of music, the UK government revealed plans for an unprecedented cash injection of £1.57 billion to help the arts, culture and heritage industries survive the impact of closures brought on by coronavirus – providing music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.
While the relief for venues was welcome, many warned that without urgent government clarity, support and action, the pipeline of talent that plays within them could be cut short – declaring that musicians and crew were facing their “biggest crisis since the 1920s” without support.