Categories
News Press Release

#WeMakeEvents gives evidence at DCMS hearing on UK festivals

On Tuesday 2 February, #WeMakeEvents gave evidence during a DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the future of UK festivals, represented by the leader of the campaign’s political group Duncan Bell who detailed the ongoing challenges faced by the live events and entertainment industry.

When asked if there is a problem with people leaving the industry due to COVID-19 Duncan answered that, “Freelancers have been forced to find work elsewhere. In a recent survey of 2,800 people over 30% of freelancers said they have had to leave the industry, and 20% say they hope to come back but are very unsure whether they are able to because of the lack of certainty.” #WeMakeEvents is currently verifying the data from this survey and will be publishing the full report in the coming weeks.  

One of the central aims of #WeMakeEvents is to get government-backed cancellation insurance for events, and following a question on the financial processing Duncan explained, “In many cases there will be payments in the planning stage but the majority of funds will not be paid until the event has gone ahead…It’s one of the reason the insurance discussion is such an important discussion for us.”

Duncan continued, “Conversations have been going on for some time and we have put forward various schemes. think the urgent requirement and benefit of the insurance is to bring certainty to being able to plan and book equipment, making it the first link in the chain, not the last.”

A road map still has yet to be presented by government on how and when the events industry is liekly to re-open. Duncan commented, “We need the clarity and engagement. It’s not about a definitive date, it’s about a plan of what the picture could look like – how do we think a safer event could happen, how does insurance allow that to happen, how does rapid testing fit in to that process? One of the points that is missed in many conversations is that unlike certain sectors we have not been forced to close legally and therefore many support systems aren’t triggered. Many businesses in our sector have been operating on 5-6 percent income over the past 10-11 months.”

In addition to the huge loss of earnings throughout 2021, Duncan also raised crucial points regarding Brexit and the future potential for loss of work: “There is a fear that technicians and crew will come in from the EU because of their passport status…We will see UK companies being less favourable and staff will be sourced from the EU and therefore will only have one country to work out for their work permit.”

Later in the inquiry, Duncan got to the crux of why the events industry has struggled to receive adequate government support:, “One of our biggest frustrations is that we represent the hidden bit – we are invisible and go out of our way to be invisible. People go to the theatre or a festival and take for granted that it happens magically. People are not aware of the thousands involved over a period of time, in many cases for festivals it’s a year-long process.”

Following the inquiry, the BBC reported on the future of festivals, quoting Duncan and his fellow witnesses: tour manager Tre Stead, Nottinghill Carnival chief exectutive Matthew Phillip, and Wild Rumpus director Rowan Cannon. Moreover, this crucial evidence will be evaluated and considered by top-tier government officials when developing safety procedures for live events in the future.

Read the BBC article: www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55900788
Watch the DCMS inquiry: parliamentlive.tv/event/index/e4cf0a19-99c6-4177-9c3e-fad00caf0548

Categories
Uncategorized

Budget 2021: Stakeholder Representation

Ahead of the Chancellor’s planned Budget on 3 March, #WeMakeEvents has submitted a Stakeholder Representation to the Treasury with our calls to ensure the sector will survive until live events can safely reopen.

Since March, in-person live events have been all but unable to operate due to Government social distancing restrictions, with many of our members reporting revenue falls of over 90%. Yet, a significant proportion of the live event supply chain have been excluded from vital Government support. This has brought our sector to its knees. Unless HM Treasury addresses this exclusion – and provides equal support – many in the sector are unlikely to survive until live events reopen. What’s more, of those that remain, many will struggle to recover to pre-pandemic levels.

If the sector is going to be able to survive until live events can safely reopen, and then rapidly recover to pre-pandemic levels, we need HM Treasury to:

  1. Extend support to those individuals unfairly excluded from CJRS and SEISS
  2. Extend the 100% business rates relief available for businesses formally closed by Government social distancing restrictions, to businesses in the live event supply chain that are unable to work due to these same restrictions but are not considered eligible due to the fact that the Government insists on seeing them as not technically closed
  3. Reintroduce the grants to cover ENICs for employees on CJRS  

COVID-19 income support schemes

We are grateful for the support that HM Treasury has provided to many freelancers and self-employed workers in the live event supply chain, all of whom have been unable to work since March due to the effective closure of the industry. But whilst the SEISS and CJRS are proving a lifeline for many in the live events supply chain, there are a considerable number of others who are excluded from the support in part or in full due to restrictions placed on the schemes. We are calling for small refinements to ensure that all those who are unable to earn a living due to Government social distancing restrictions, but are currently excluded from support, are able to access one of the support schemes on a fair basis. The excluded group includes:

  1. Directors of small businesses
  2. Freelancers working on short-term PAYE contracts
  3. Newly self-employed
  4. Self-employed with income from other sources
  5. Self-employed with trading profit of over £50,000 


COVID-19 business support schemes

100% business rates relief

We ask that the 100% business rates relief scheme be extended to include businesses in the live event supply chain that have been severely impacted by Government social distancing restrictions but are not in a category that is currently eligible for the scheme. This relief should be backdated to 6 April 2020 to align with the support businesses currently eligible have been able to access.

Employers National Insurance Contributions (ENICs) for furloughed employees

Up until the 1 August, employers were able to claim a grant to cover the ENICs for staff on CJRS. This was a welcome measure, meaning that companies who were highly viable in normal times and earnestly wanted to retain their employees, but had no income to make a contribution to CRJS, could do so.

The fact that this has not been the case since August is causing a serious problem for organisations who are arguably in an even worse state than they were previously – having had zero income since March – and therefore, are even less able to afford the ENICs.

We also ask that HM Treasury reintroduce the grant to cover the full cost of ENICs for employees on CJRS.

Categories
News

Can you cycle further than Land’s End to John O’Groats?

Starting in Newcastle on Saturday 3rd October and finishing in London on Sunday October 18th, five industry stalwarts (plus one driving the bus!) will cycle between 80 and 125km per day, representing the UK tour season that never happened this year. Stopping off at over 50 of the most iconic festival, tour and performance venues that have all been standing empty, dark and silent, since the start of lockdown, all in all the tour will cover over 1,500km. (See tour locations and route map below.)

The tour aims to raise awareness of the plight of the million-plus workers in the UK events industry, a sector regarded as the best in the world, to raise funds for Backup #WeMakeEvents’ chosen charity that provides help to employees, freelancers and their families suffering in the entertainment sector, and to kick off ‘RESTART’, the next phase of the #WeMakeEvents campaign.

The five riders and driver of the support vehicle, provided by Crossland Bussing, all have established careers in the events industry, having worked with the biggest names in the world including Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Roger Waters, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons and more. Heading up the initiative are Steve Reynolds and Loud Sound colleagues Mike Trasmundi along with. Mark Ward of Proper Productions and colleagues Harry Ford and Tyler Cole-Holmes,

According to Steve Reynolds it was so important, professionally as well as personally, to try to help. “Having worked in the entertainment and events business for so many years we all felt we HAD to do something, both to raise awareness to the public, who rarely see us behind the scenes, and inform the Government of the impending collapse of this sector, one that has grown year-on-year and is regarded as the best in the world, and is on the brink of collapse.

Most of our friends and colleagues work in this industry, we know their families and they are suffering. In fact, it’s like a big extended family, and we couldn’t stand by and let it just disappear without trying to help. So, to anyone reading or listening, please come and join us (it’s imperative for safety and COVID compliance that everyone has to register) or, if you can, make a donation on our donations page, thank you so much.

Route:

3rd October: Newcastle > Northallerton

4th October: Northallerton > Leeds

5th October: Leeds > Manchester

6th October: Manchester > Warrington

7th October: Warrington > Sheffield

8th October: Sheffield > Nottingham

9th October: Nottingham > Coalville

10th October: Coalville > Birmingham

11th October: Birmingham > Oxford

12th October: Oxford > Bristol

13th October: Bristol > Glastonbury

14th October: Glastonbury > Bournemouth

15th October: Bournemouth > Portsmouth

16th October: Portsmouth > Brighton

17th October: Brighton > London

18th October: London (travelling between landmarks)

Gary White of #WeMakeEvents added, “We’re delighted Steve and the team are helping in this way. It’s a typically generous gesture that we’re used to seeing from this industry. We’re extremely aware that many in our industry are suffering a sharp decline in their mental health  and, with little or no work or income for the past six months and no prospect of jobs until at least spring 2021, it’s important that we all pull together and raise funds to help them. If you’re thinking of joining the ride, why not invite an industry friend who might be in that position to get involved to join you for the day and be a part of it.

To get involved you must register at here and join the team for a day’s ride, or, if that sounds a little too energetic, you can help by donating to the charity here.

Categories
News

#WeMakeEvents is felt around the world with Global Day of Action

Yesterday marked the #WeMakeEvents Global Day of Action, in which countries from across the globe came together in solidarity to highlight the plight that is currently facing the worldwide live events industry. In total, over 25 countries took part at 8pm local time, with activations delivering a range of creative responses, such as lighting iconic buildings in red to highlight how the industry is in red alert, as well as beaming shafts of white light into the sky to highlight the mass job losses.

There are over 30 million people across the globe who work in live events; the majority of which have not worked since the COVID-19 outbreak and remain unsure as to when their work will return. Following previously successful Days of Actions from the #WeMakeEvents team, the Global Day of Action sought to bring together the global industry and highlight the impact that its effective shutdown is having throughout the world.

The action started in New Zealand and Australia, where key landmarks such as the Auckland Sky Tower, The Domain in Sydney and Perth’s Matagarup Bridge were illuminated. The red wave then moved through other countries including India, the Philippines, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Norway and South Africa, to name but a few.

Based in South Africa, Duncan Riley is Director of DWR Distribution, South Africa’s leading supplier of lighting, audio and AV equipment for the country’s entertainment industry. He comments: “The past seven months have really been trying times for our industry in South Africa. To see the freelancers struggle and having to say good-bye and retrench our own staff, has been the most difficult part. Simply put, we cannot continue as a live events industry as the country now stands”.

In the UK, where the #WeMakeEvents campaign first started, a range of iconic buildings were lit, including the London Eye, Royal Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall and ExCel Centre. Jeremy Rees, CEO, ExCeL London, comments: “Before COVID-19, the UK events industry was a world-class sector worth £70bn, employing over 700,000 people, across 25,000 businesses. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our sector. We’re calling on the Government to extend the support available to our industry and provide clarity on when the events sector will be able to reopen. We are totally committed to continuing to work with the Government to explore ways of resuming business in a safe, COVID-secure manner and are determined to build confidence around this”.
 
The event also received the support of many high-profile artists who used their social media channels to raise additional awareness. These included Coldplay, Radiohead, Fatboy Slim, James Bay, Noel Gallagher, Mumford and Sons and Eddie Izzard to name but a few. With such vast coverage and the campaign’s vital message being heard on a global scale, it is hoped that the respective governments will work with the live events industry and provide the support it needs.

Andy Dockerty, Managing Director of Adlib, and one of those behind #WeMakeEvents, concludes: “This was an important event as it truly did show a real sense of comradery and proves how we’re all in it together. Speaking to other participants in the various countries, it seems as though certain governments are actually helping companies and venues find ways in which to put on events, whereas others are simply ignoring all pleas. The purpose of this event was to get all governments to ensure our normally thriving industry survives this current crisis, be ready to help the global economy recover, and that hundreds of thousands of jobs are saved in the process”.  

The momentum of recent activities will continue over the next weeks and months as #WeMakeEvents moves into Restart, the next phase of creative action. More details will follow in the coming days.

Categories
News

#WeMakeEvents interview with Maria Eagle Labour MP

Categories
News

Creative demonstration takes place in London’s Parliament Square

Following Rishi Sunak’s announcement on the Winter Economy Plan, today, Tuesday 29th September will see the #We Make Events ‘Stand As One’ creative demonstration take place in London to emphasise the importance of the campaign, as well as how the industry is edging ever closer to collapse.

At 12.30pm, on College Green in London’s Parliament Square, this Creative Action Protest will see over 650 industry freelancers, full time employees and business owners affected by the shutdown of events due to COVID-19 stand still and quiet, socially distanced until 1.00pm, then disperse in an orderly fashion. This continues to highlight the plight of the UK’s events industry, and carry on pressuring the Government for vital financial support.

See what we’re asking the UK Government

Reinforcing the professionalism of our sector, all events observe COVID-19 safety protocols, including masks and social distancing. If you want to attend, you can register here.

This will be followed by the Global Action Day on Wednesday

Categories
Press Release

Global Day of Action planned for 30th September

The #WeMakeEvents campaign has been ramping up activity in order to highlight how the global live events industry urgently needs to get back to work. Over 30 million people in 25 countries would usually work in the events industry, but with social distancing measures in place, there is no possibility of a financially viable return for the foreseeable future.

Over the past weeks, events have happened around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, France, Germany, Spain and UK, to raise awareness of those impacted in the event supply chain, from manufacturers, production companies, catering, transport, security and others, to the huge freelance community that works within the industry.

The majority of the industry has had no income since the beginning of the crisis in March, and with a global second wave of COVID-19 imminent, a date to return to work has become impossible to predict, leaving many companies and individuals devastated, both financially and personally.

“The situation in Spain is terrible and we’re working very hard to highlight that to our government,” says Juan Jose Villa, from Spanish trade association, AFIAL. “Our event on 17th September got coverage on most of Spain’s regional television and radio stations, and we believe that we have shown how important live events are to the Spanish economy.”

The industry is now joining together as a worldwide force on the 30th September for a Global Day of Action. This marks the start of a new phase of the campaign which will continue to alert governments to the disastrous situation the sector faces.

In the UK alone, the DCMS’ figures state the Cultural Sector’s value exceeds £100 billion and was the fastest growing sector in 2017 and in 2018, the outdoor events industry attracted a staggering 141.5 million visitors. Despite this, the sector does not receive arts grants, which means that the recent £1.57 billion bailout is not reaching the highly skilled people, manufacturers or the huge supply chain of businesses that enable the sector to operate. When this supply chain is taken into account, the number of people affected nears one million and threatens to destroy all of their livelihoods, as well as the future of live events in general.

“In 2019, we turned over between £3 and £4 million in the corporate events market,” says Bryan Raven, Managing Director of White Light. “This year, in the same time period, we have turned over just £8,000. At the beginning of the year, we employed 260 people. It doesn’t take an accountant to do the maths and realise it’s not financially viable to keep a company going under such circumstances. The result is that we have already had to make 67 staff redundant and, unless the Furlough scheme in the UK is extended or replaced, a further 50 roles are at risk. It’s tragic to see our company go from being highly successful to this in a matter of months.”

#WeMakeEvents is now calling on governments worldwide to extend significant financial support for the people and companies in the events sector supply chain until they can viably return to work.

At 8pm local time on 30th September, event professionals from thousands of cities across more than 25 countries will come together to Stand As One for the Global Day of Action.

The ‘baton’ will be passed across different time zones and feature creative activities, which include:


• Shine a Light – strategically placed shafts of white light will be beamed into the night sky, with each one signifying potential job losses. 

• #LightItInRed – venues and structures will be illuminated red with the #WeMakeEvents signature expression of Red Alert. 

• Inside Out – images of what would have been taking place inside a venue will now be projected onto the outside of empty venues, reminding us what we are missing and what may never return.

“What people really don’t understand is what events contribute to the world, financially, spiritually and emotionally,” concludes Michael T Strickland, Chair and Founder Bandit Lites in the USA and a leading voice in the US RESTART campaign which is aligned with WeMakeEvents. “We really are a global industry. The impact to us is devastating right now, with 77% of people in our live events industry having lost 100% of their income due to the inability to work due to social distancing regulations, but the impact on the world if the industry disappears will be equally devastating in many ways.

“It’s incomprehensible that governments do not understand the economic value of the events industry as a whole – from festivals, tours, conventions to corporate events. We are a solid financial investment and will be able to contribute far more to a global recovery than we will cost in the meantime.”
  Find out how to support the campaign and what you can do on the 30th .

Categories
News

#WeMakeEvents reacts to Sunak’s Winter Economy Plan

Friday 25.9.20  

We welcome the announcement of the new job support schemes in the UK, which will provide a measure of relief for our industry. However, with the increased restrictions that have been announced, it looks unlikely that we will be able to return to work in a financially viable way within the next six months.

This means that the majority of businesses in our sector will not be able to generate sufficient revenue to support their contribution towards employees’ salaries, nor will they be able to contract in the huge self-employed community within the industry.

Therefore, the #WeMakeEvents campaign will continue with its program of activity until the detail of the announcement is fully clear and how that impacts on our industry.

Categories
Press Release

#WeMakeEvents builds momentum

September 18th, 2020 – The #WeMakeEvents campaign aims to raise awareness around the current plight of the live entertainments sector and its urgent need for financial support if it is to support the Covid-19 crisis. Last month, it was announced that it would be steered by a collective of industry trade bodies, businesses and freelancers; all working in collaboration with each other. Over the past few weeks, the team has continued to build momentum around the campaign, working endlessly to rally the government for much needed support.  

Following last month’s Day of Action which saw buildings across the UK lit up in red as a show of support, the #WeMakeEvents team has been busy capitalising on the extensive media coverage and attention this received. One of those involved is White Light’s Managing Director Bryan Raven, who comments: “The Day of Action was vitally important for our cause as it finally got people talking. There were a few government figures who weren’t particularly listening to our concerns prior to this and didn’t fully appreciate the scale of the crisis we are in. That certainly seems to have changed now and, whilst it may appear that the campaign has been slightly quieter for the past few weeks, this is only due to us putting all of our energies into the various meetings and surveys we’ve had to conduct to ensure the campaign continues to gain momentum”.

Activities over the last few weeks include meetings with political advisors, who are helping to formulate precise action points of the campaign’s next steps, as well as collating a Briefing Information document which is being used to rally MPs and other people of influence. There have also been several surveys conducted, such as the Freelancer Survey, which will allow the campaign to present the government with facts and figures which show how vital this industry is to the economy. A letter featuring prominent industry heads was printed in The Times newspaper to rally further mainstream support of our plight. The campaign team has also been working hard to determine just who will be able to receive any existing government funding, after receiving confirmation from the DCMS that the Culture Recovery Fund will not apply to event companies.

In addition to raising the profile of this emergency, #WeMakeEvents is implementing its plans to raise funds for those most affected, the first step  is the merchandise store, now available on the new official site and contributions to our chosen industry charities starting with Backup – The Technical Entertainment Charity. Donate here.

There have also been plans made for a Creative Action Protest to be held in Parliament Square on 29th September to continue pressuring the government for support. For this event in particular, the #WeMakeEvents team would encourage as many individuals as possible to attend in order to emphasise the importance of this campaign as well as how the industry is edging ever closer to collapse. Reinforcing the professionalism of our sector, all events observe Covid safety protocols including masks and social distancing, of course. You can register here.

This will be followed by the Global Action Day on the 30th, more information on which will be issued shortly.  Bryan concludes: “It’s safe to say that it’s been an incredibly busy few weeks for all of us at #WeMakeEvents. Unfortunately, we have to be honest and say there is no instant fix available to solve the issues we all face, so instead, our time and energy need to go into well-thought out strategies and ensure we use our resources as effectively as possible. With Furlough ending next month, this is a battle that still needs fighting and we will be at the forefront of that. We will continue our hard work over the next few weeks and hope that our efforts will see the breakthrough we so desperately need”.

Categories
News

#WeMakeEvents moves to next phase: ‘Stand as One’

September 2nd, 2020 – Initially launched by PLASA in response to calls from its membership, the #WeMakeEvents campaign aims to raise awareness around the current plight of the live events sector and how it urgently needs financial support in order to survive the Covid-19 crisis. The initial response has been fantastic, including a collective Day of Action on 11th August with creative expressions across the country, including  over 700 buildings lit up in red and other activities that culminated with 4,000 socially distanced event professionals lining bridges and the bankside of the Thames,  expressing their need for support with the red alert theme.

In order to represent all those in the communities that #WeMakeEvents represents, PLASA is now announcing that the campaign has moved into total independence, steered by a collective of industry trade bodies, including PLASA, businesses and freelancers who are all working together to ensure it receives as much awareness as possible. The success of the initial activity has led to a global movement, with organisations from around the world coming together in a spirit of mutual support and solidarity.

This next stage in the campaign will be known as ‘Stand as One’ –taken from the newly released song and now campaign anthem,  written and performed by Joe Bygraves, who has generously agreed to donate 25% of the money made from the track to #MakeItBlue UK to be distributed to relevant mental health organisations. Further action is planned to call for financial support to be extended for the freelancers and companies in this sector until they can safely return to work. The group will be announcing a number of creative activations to be held throughout the month, leading up to a #WeMakeEvents Global day of creative action on 30th September, with countries from New Zealand to Canada and across Europe joining in. More details to follow.

Gary White, from White Productions Limited, is one of those behind the campaign. He comments: “The live events industry is vitally important to this country and contributes billions of pounds each year to the UK economy – something that is an undeniable fact. The UK is regarded as a world leader in delivering complex events and our work is recognised and respected across the globe. However, the complete lack of ongoing support from the government means we now find ourselves at a cliff edge. There are hundreds of thousands now out of a job, through no fault of their own, and it seems that the possibility of returning to work won’t arrive until at least March next year.

He continues: “Now, more than ever, our voices need to be heard. This is why Stand as One is so important; it means we can all work together to ensure that our message reaches as many people as possible, not just in our industry but to all those who enjoy live events. This new collective has been meeting on an almost daily basis, working hard to put plans in place for the next steps of the campaign, whether it’s online and social messaging, videos, case studies or legal outdoor events to gain media attention. We’ve made a commitment to ourselves, our colleagues and our community to not stop until we receive the support we need – and this is a promise we intend to keep”.

Today, the collective is calling on as many individuals who normally work in live events to come together and take part in Stand as One. To kick this off, the group has put together the following incentives:

Write to your MP 

Share #WeMakeEvents videos on social media 

Call someone you know

Gary concludes: “We’d like to say thanks again for everyone’s support and patience so far. It truly is appreciated. That said, as those of us who’ve been out of work for months now know, the campaign to raise awareness has only really just begun. Now more than ever, it’s vital that we all work together to put forward the same message in order to achieve our main aim of receiving significant and immediate government support. We have to keep building momentum and show just how devastating the obliteration of the live events industry in this country would be, not just to us, but to everyone. We need as many people as possible to get involved, so please reach out and take part in a campaign and let us all Stand as One together”.