Live events are traditionally the model of a robust sector, employing hundreds of thousands of personnel
UK - With government advice putting the decision-making onto the shoulders of the public and consumer confidence eroding as a consequence, the live events sector is stressed to the limit, says industry organisation #WeMakeEvents (WME).
Despite a devastating 2020 and a challenging 2021, businesses in the industry have worked hard to exceed revenues last recorded in November 2019 by the same month in 2021. But, says WME, the current climate has already eroded this by 80% during December 2021 and is forecast to continue through January.
From the UK’s first lockdown in Spring 2020 until summer 2021, companies in this sector only received around 12% of the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) awards whilst many of the freelance technical specialists who work in the industry are still catching-up on their finances, having had no work for over a year.
WME says in a statement: “While we are pleased to see the government recognise the existence and critical role of freelancers in the entertainment sectors, the chancellor’s announcement of £1.5m support will have little to no effect whatsoever. Added to this, local government grants are not sufficiently targeted to reach the supply chain, compounded by the ‘postcode lottery’ of these grants by the issuing local authorities, and exclusion for many within the recently announced CRF criteria. Over 25% of people had to leave the sector they loved over the past 20 months for more regular and dependable income to support themselves and families. Another talent drain like this will be fatal.
“While we feel the pain for our colleagues in hospitality, widely covered by the media as being 40% down, the live events supply chain is already facing cancellations of 80% and rising during December 2021 and January. The UK’s sector, regarded as the best in the world, is once again at risk of collapse. This does not only affect music events, festivals and tours but prevents others such as corporate, trade shows, conferences, sporting events and broadcast from proceeding.
Peter Heath, managing director of PLASA and Steering Group member of WME, adds: “The incredible efforts made by this sector when it was on its knees for 16 months is testament not only to the belief and dedication of its people, but also evidence that this is a highly viable industry. But having taken so many body-blows it will need short-term support for its manufacturing and production companies, as well as its staff and freelance communities to recover.”
#WeMakeEvents urges the UK government not to ignore this sector once again but to provide appropriate support for companies, personnel and freelance staff so it can bounce back to being the UK’s world-leading jewel in the crown.

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