On 11 August 2020 the organisers behind #WeMakeEvents day are planning for members of the live events and entertainment industry across the UK to come together in solidarity. The idea is to host a series of creative actions to help save the sector which is “on the verge of collapsing without financial support from the government”.
Hundreds of venues are expected to turn their lights red, along with other creative activities being staged in over 20 cities across the UK to symbolise the industry going into red alert, and a final call to action titled ‘throw us a line’ will be taking centre stage on London’s Southbank.
The capital’s finale will begin on a boat at 8.30pm, as it makes it way down the Thames – passing Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the Tate, and more all illuminated red. As the boat reaches key locations, such as Westminster Bridge and Jubilee Bridge, hundreds of volunteers will symbolise the ‘throw us a line’ theme creatively.
The call to action hopes to raise awareness for over a million professionals at risk of losing their jobs, 600,000 of whom deliver outdoor events, around 70% of the workforce being freelance. The imminent closure of the self-employed income support scheme at the end of the month threatens their livelihood.
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% of companies will have served redundancy notices by the end of August, this rises to 70% by the end of December.
Over 19 trade associations from the live events sector are collaborating for the first time to save 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.
Peter Heath, MD of PLASA, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association, commented:
“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. We’ve issued a ‘Red Alert’ after using #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’.”