#WeMakeEvents day of action makes waves
Wednesday, 12 August 2020
redalertlsiClockwise from top left: Tate lit up for #WeMakeEvents and surrounded by supporters; Frank Turner performs to support the cause; attractions across the UK lit up red for the occasion; Protesters wearing red line up on Westminster Bridge. Photos: LSi
UK - The UK events industry proudly came together in a show of solidarity under the #WeMakeEvents campaign banner yesterday (11 August) to ask the government to ‘throw us a line’ in the form of on-going and increased financial support.
As part of the movement, over 715 buildings across the UK lit up in red to symbolise the imminent danger over one million people in the live events industry face unless the government provides additional financial support.
20 of the UK’s biggest cities hosted events to raise awareness of the struggling supply chain that facilitates events across the country. From the Minnack Theatre Cornwall to The Queen’s Hall Edinburgh, Principality Stadium Cardiff and the Millennium Forum Northern Ireland, the message was spread far and wide – the situation is urgent. In Manchester, 200 technicians pushed redundant flightcases through the city centre as part of their protest, observing COVID-19 safety protocols at all times.
The capital’s finale began aboard a boat at 20:30, which made its way down the Thames - passing iconic buildings including the Royal Festival Hall, the London Eye, the National Theatre and the Tate all illuminated in emergency red. Some 4000 socially distanced supporters dressed in red lined the banks of the Thames and bridges including the Millennium Bridge and Jubilee Bridge to further drive the message home.
Level 42 frontman Mark King and folk singer Frank Turner performed on the boat, both expressing the importance of their skilled crews. The call to action focused on raising awareness for over a million professionals at risk of losing their jobs - 600,000 of whom deliver outdoor events, and with around 70% of the workforce being freelance. The government’s recent £1.57billion investment to the cultural and arts institutions will not reach many workers from the industry, and 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 – with 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, rising to 70% by the end of December.
To facilitate this event, 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.
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 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. “
Present on the #WeMakeEvents boat, music promoter Harvey Goldsmith told LSi: “What you’ve done tonight as an industry is fantastic and I support you guys 120%. The government doesn’t understand how our business works; I was on a call with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport the other week and I said to him: ‘We can’t do things on Monday just because you say so, we need four months to get everything organised to put events on properly’. We need a target date so we can work backwards from that, but we’re just not getting it. So I fully support this event as you’re pushing for some action.”
The #WeMakeEvents day of action drew the attention of many mainstream media outlets - including the BBC, ITV, with the story appearing on prime time TV news bulletins. 

For more on the incredible day of action, see the September issue of LSi – coming soon! Plus, keep an eye on our social media channels for more images of the event. If you took part in the day of action and would like to share your images and story with us, please email them to info@lsionline.com.

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