April 2020

In April 2020, PLASA met with their board to agree how they could help their members and industry so badly affected by the lock-down due to the COVID-19 crisis. A sub-group of industry companies was formed and a decision to launch a campaign #WeMakeEvents to highlight the plight of everyone in the supply chain was born.

The Campaign grew to include over 21 industry bodies along with a number of companies and professionals in the UK.

The campaign culminated in a high profile, national day of action across the entire UK on 11th August, following which PLASA and the associates decided that the movement should be independent of any one association or business and should be run by the industry itself.

Today, #WeMakeEvents campaign is being adopted internationally, pulling together a world-wide industry collective of hundreds of businesses and thousands of staff and freelancers all pulling together for their businesses, colleagues, and friends, who are affected by the shutdown. It spans online and social messaging, video, case studies and legal outdoor events to gain media attention, with specific creative actions and activities across the UK and internationally.

UK Event Industry Campaigns Join Forces to Fight for the Future.

#WeMakeEvents along with Three of the event industry campaigns that have been created to help get sustainable support for the whole of the event industry have agreed to align their campaigning in order to ensure that the One industry, One voice message is delivered to the right people at the right time.  In what is going to be a long and extraordinarily challenging period, different elements of the UK event industry will be allowed to re-start – but all the campaigners involved recognize the need to collaborate and co-ordinate to ensure that the long term support required to provide a viable future for UK events is secured.

WeMakeEvents, Let the Music Play and WeCreateExperiences all represent different communities of interest within the 1£84 billion UK Events industry, which has always had a very healthy mix of membership associations and trade bodies representing the diverse range of creative, technical, production, agents, venues and suppliers that make up the UK events eco-system.  The challenge of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of individual industry sectors being able to mount effective and carefully targeted campaigns for support, and for many in the UK events industry an attempt to create a one industry, one voice coalition has been long overdue.

The campaign activations conducted to date have generated extensive media coverage and engagement with supporters from right across the industry.  They have been providing a purpose, a sense of community and much needed support after an extended and often very challenging period for many with no income or hope of re-starting work under current social distancing measures.  Bringing the campaigns together addresses the need to develop both short and medium term tactics as well as longer term strategic plans required to support the re-opening of many live music venues, the re-launch of concert and festivals and sustaining the extensive supply chain required to deliver our world class events industry.  Current restrictions and guidance means that many businesses operating in the events industry are doing so in a reduced capacity, compromising their ability to support both economic and social recovery. 

Peter Heath, CEO of PLASA who led the development of the WeMakeEvents campaign, said, “We know from the response and support that we’ve had to date that there is a real appetite out there to make sure people understand who we are, what we do and how important our contribution is as an industry.  Working together like this will make our efforts all the more successful – we have to get this right for the sake of everyone that works in events in the UK. ”

Greg Parmley, member of the UK Live Music Group that helped create the Let the Music Play campaign added, “When we launched we knew that it was going to be a long haul until we would be in a position to re-open all the hundreds of venues that remain closed, produce the sell-out concerts that people are desperate to come to and re-launch our amazing programme of festivals that make the UK a global destination for music fans.  Creating a rhythm and momentum across our campaigning is going to be critical to ensuring that we are on the agenda when sector specific support is being discussed.  Spreading support across all the inter-connected bits of the industry makes perfect sense.  We all rely on each other so working together makes perfect sense.”

Simon Hughes, Chair of the BVEP who’s helping to lead the One Industry, One Voice campaign commented, “The response to all the campaigns that have been launched is testimony to the passion and commitment of everyone that works in the UK events industry.  With WeCreateExperiences we are focussing on engaging directly with the public to remind them how important the experiences they have shared are.  What we all do touches millions of lives a day – in a positive way – and we all need that now more than ever. 

Getting the cadence right across these key campaigns will be a critical measure of success. Extending the reach of the extraordinary coalition of support that Rick Stainton and Martin Fullard have created only adds more energy and commitment for all of us that want to see UK events flourish in the future”.

Our industry partners

Sources:

1. £84 billion UK Events industry – Events Industry Forum report 2018.