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DCMS answers questions on Live Events Reinsurance Scheme

In the #WeMakeEvents Zoom call on Friday 11 February, we were joined by Ariel Sommer, Head of Covid-19 Programmes for DCMS, who addressed several concerns regarding the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme.

He outlined the following key points and provided a comprehensive FAQs document:

  • The scheme runs until 30 September 2022 for events initially scheduled to take place by then.
     
  • It is available to all eligible events across the UK (not just England).
     
  • Eligible policies (ie ones that have non-Covid cover as well) must be bound no less than eight weeks before the scheduled start date of the event, but all eligible costs linked to the event can be backdated.
     
  • Policyholders need not be just event organisers. They can be individuals such as artists or supply chain organisations, as long as they are looking to cover their costs directly linked to an eligible event.

Read the DCMS FAQs sheet 

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New SIC codes for the Events sector

One of the (many) reasons that many parts of the industry have been excluded from support during the pandemic, by Governments is because we have never used consistent SIC Codes, which are used by governments to determine economic activities and industry value.

From a statistics point of view, the industry is “invisible”. This is because there is a lack of relevant SIC codes for us to use and we not realised the importance of these codes for governments analysing businesses and industries.

#WeMakeEvents, PLASA and the BVEP, along with others from the EU and USA, are campaigning for some changes to these codes to make them more relevant. However, that is going to take between three to five years as they are agreed internationally.

You can use more than one SIC code, and so we are suggesting that you continue to use those codes that you may have used before,  for example manufacturing, or transport and that you include one of the SIC codes listed below, to acknoweldge your contribution to the Live Events sector.

We hope that all companies involved in events will support this and use these codes to help create the data and visibility to demonstrate how financially significant this industry is.


Suggested SIC codes to use

56210 – Currently classified as: Event catering activities.

This class includes the provision of food services based on contractual arrangements with the customer, at the location specified by the customer, for a specific event. Find out more about 56210

68202 – Currently classified as: Letting and operating of conference and exhibition centres.

Find out more about 68202

82301 – Currently classified as: Activities of exhibition and fair organisers.

This subclass includes the organisation, promotion and/or management of events, such as business and trade shows and conventions, whether or not including the management and provision of the staff to operate the facilities in which these events take place. Find out more about 82301

82302 – Currently classified as: Activities of conference organisers.

This subclass includes the organisation of conferences and meetings, whether or not including the management and provision of the staff to operate the facilities in which these events take place. Find out more about 82302

90020 – Currently classified as: Support activities to performing arts

This subclass includes support activities to performing arts for production of live theatrical presentations, concerts and opera or dance productions and other stage productions; activities of directors, producers, stage-set designers and builders, scene shifters, lighting engineers etc. and activities of producers or entrepreneurs of arts live events with support activities to performances or without facilities. Find out more about 90020


Frequently asked questions about SIC codes

What’s the issue and why is it important?

During the pandemic, our industry’s collective global and national financial value and contribution were not identifiable by governments, this led to an underestimation of the collective worth and therefore financial support allocated to individuals and companies in the events industry.

PLASA, #WeMakeEvents and the BVEP want to encourage everyone to take action and use specific SIC codes that will help raise a spike in demonstrating our true combined value and contribution to worldwide economies, before the next revision of these codes in around four to five years time.

This will then demonstrate that our industry is a good investment to governments and hopefully encourage more support in general for our industry.

Who does this impact?

Everyone that works in the global events and entertainment industry.

What are SIC codes?

Standard Industry Classification Codes (SIC) are requested and analysed by governments to determine the economic value of industries.

When do companies declare which SIC code they are using?

Most SIC codes are added at the point when companies submit their end-of-year returns. In many cases, the same generic category code is used by accountants, such as manufacturers, suppliers etc.  These generic codes are not specific to events and therefore don’t contribute towards the perceived economic value of our industry.

Which codes should they use?

We have isolated some specific codes that although not perfect, could be used to start to create a spike needed to demonstrate our worth. The most suitable for those working in the supply chain is: 90020 – currently classified as: Support activities to performing arts

What can I do ?

Spread the word! Ask your accountant, or take action yourself and add one of the suggested codes to your confirmation statement (annual return). The good news is you don’t have to wait until your annual return is ready,  you can do this now and you can add more than one code,  so if you have used a generic one in the past, you can continue to do so alongside our suggested codes.

Who should take action?

Company owners, financial and managing directors, and company accountants.

Any questions, please get in touch via info@wemakeevents.com

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BikeFest Spain 2022 finishes phase one, raising much-needed funds for industry charities

An intrepid team of ten industry professionals cycled 400km along the Spanish coast last weekend, to raise awareness of the impacted Live Events industry and raise funds for charity.

Organised by #WeMakeEvents in UK and Spain, BikeFest Spain 2022 has so far raised 6,000 Euros, with donations still rolling in. The funds are being split between two industry charities that help individuals through financial hardship – Backup in the UK and the AAA Foundation in Spain.

BikeFest Spain 2022 was delivered by #WeMakeEvents in partnership with PLASA, AFIAL, AVIXA, ISE, FIAVE, Alerta Roja and LSi. The event garnered support from companies across Europe, with sponsorship from Ayrton, Equipson, EarPro, EES, FANTEK and Ruisaljo. In addition, the cyclists represented PLASA, Equipson, Bishop Sound, Britannia Row, and Sharp NEC.

Federico Haba, Head of Sharp/NEC Display Solutions Ibérica, comments:“As a representative of an AV manufacturer, we at SHARP/NEC wanted to join the cause to raise awareness of the impact Covid is having on the Live Events sector. In addition, with limited access to key components and steep increases in costs, we – and many other companies like us – are being forced to manage supply chain delays. This is having ramifications for distributors, venues, end-users and ultimately, the public.”

From Valencia to Barcelona

The team hit the road at the Mestalla Stadium in the historic port city of Valencia, and over three days cycled along the coast, taking in some very challenging mountains. 400km later the team approached the bustling roads of Barcelona and crossed the finishing line at the Fira Barcelona exhibition centre.

The arrival in Barcelona was bittersweet – Although a small audience of industry colleagues were there to celebrate the team’s arrival, the exhibition centre should have been thronging with event attendees but instead stood empty. Another stark reminder of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Live Events supply chain and the imperative to keep campaigning. 

Nicky Greet, of PLASA and #WeMakeEvents, co-organiser of the event comments: “It’s so vital that #WeMakeEvents continues to run activities like this, that both fundraise and keep our industry in the minds of governments. The relentless impact of the pandemic has hit people’s livelihoods and mental health, and they mustn’t be forgotten about. As the driver of the support van for BikeFest Spain 2022, I can tell you that the team cycled some serious terrain, in cold and windy conditions too. It was really impressive seeing them keep the momentum going, doing it on behalf of all of us in the industry.”

Future sponsorship opportunities

#WeMakeEvents in the UK and Spain are extremely grateful for the sponsors, the cyclists, and the donators. With another BikeFest planned in May to align with the postponed dates of ISE, there are further opportunities to get involved as a cyclist or sponsor. More information on sponsorship packages and promotional opportunities will be shared soon. 

Juan Jose Vila, of Equipson and #HacemosEventos, who conceived the idea and co-organised the event, comments:“The aim of BikeFest Spain 2022 was to show solidarity with the industry – from the freelancers right up to the international companies. And when ISE postponed, the team unanimously agreed to continue, highlighting not only the past two years but what is still happening in our industry right now! BikeFest was only made possible by our sponsors, for which I give them my thanks. We invite even more sponsors on board for when BikeFest returns in May for ISE, so join us and align your brand with a worthy and fun cause!”

Find out more about BikeFest Spain 2022 at www.bikefest2022.com

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Significant shortages and delays put Live Events at risk

PLASA, the lead association for the entertainment technology industry, and #WeMakeEvents, the global campaign to save live events, have published a detailed global survey report on the current position and future recovery of the live events industry.

The survey ran from 1 November 2021 to 21 December 2021 and was completed by 1,948 respondents in over 40 countries in five different languages. The data provides strong and clear evidence of the challenges currently facing the sector, with the vast majority currently reporting delays, shortages and cost increases.

Looking ahead, confidence is mixed, with the majority of respondents lacking confidence in industry recovery within the next six months. This is even more startling  considering the survey was conducted before the Omicron variant threatened the lucrative winter holiday season. However, there is cautious optimism from seven to 18 months, which mirrors the progress made when the Live Events industry re-opened in 2021.

But for now, companies and organisations are carrying a heavy financial burden, reporting a huge decrease in annual turnover. To increase the pressure further, 45% took on additional debt to survive the lockdowns. Freelancers are fairing no better, with low earners growing in number and top earners dropping by 78%.

The supply chain is in complete disarray, with shortages and delays across the board. A shocking 94% of manufacturers are experiencing delays in components, resulting in many being forced to source new suppliers and redesign products. The knock-on effects are felt by rental companies, venues, installers and distributors, with the vast majority facing delays in finished goods, cost increases, and unavoidable complications.

Juan Jose Vila, COO of Equipson Spain, comments: “The global Live Events industry has been hit like never before in our lifetime, with much of the supply chain left out in the cold, forced into accruing debt and calling off work. Much of what is involved in making live events happen is out of sight – from the engineer behind the sound desk, to the factory that the technology is produced in. This survey demonstrates how impacted the global  industry continues to be, so I stand with my industry colleagues around the world in calling for urgent financial support.”

In the lead up to the traditionally busy summer season, the Live Events industry is faced with a devastating skills shortage. 69% of companies report a lack of workers, particularly on-site roles such as engineers, technicians, crew and riggers. These crucial shortages are forcing many to delay or cancel work, further losing revenue and opportunities. There is very little confidence that this picture will improve over the coming months, with the real risk of not meeting the increasing audience demand for live entertainment and cultural events throughout 2022.

Andy Dockerty, Managing Director for Adlib, comments: “As a busy supplier to live events, the pressures have been immense. Covid and the enforced lockdown resulted in our turnover being down 80% and we had to rely on substantial CBILS loans to honour debt amassed through no fault of our own. These loans enabled the company to stay afloat and have resulted in huge additional monthly repayments. Couple this with rising bills and interest rates triggered by a lack of confidence in the sector from lenders, the industry is heading for a very uncertain 12 months or so. When allowed to work we are capable of recovering quickly, proving the sector to be viable. The negative messaging and Plan B announced by government in December resulted in our sector once again losing 80% of its income for December, January and the majority of February with absolutely no help at all, amassing further debt.

“We believe there is the potential for a busy 2022 from April onwards, however, there is the added factor of huge shortages within the sector resulting in many companies not being able to deliver numerous jobs or capitalise on any opportunities because of the lack of qualified personnel. Although we may be coming out of one crisis, amassed debt, massive staff shortages, rapidly rising overheads and interest rates, product availability and supply chain issues means we are quickly heading into a very different crisis and we will all need help.”

The pandemic caused an exodus of freelancers seeking work in other sectors, 17% of which migrated into Film & TV. Only half have returned to the Live Events industry full time, leaving a skills gap that takes many years of training and experience to fill. Freelancers who remained or returned are facing shorter lead times and increased pressure. Not only that, touring abroad has dropped by 60%, and international travel remains an unfeasible option.

What was once a strong and dynamic sector and the envy of the world – bringing in £70billion, according to the BVEP UK Events Report – is now suffering from a ‘perfect storm’ of issues which is permeating every part of the Live Events Supply Chain. Moreover, sectors such as hospitality and leisure will feel the economic effects as the Live Events industry attracts siginificant revenues to them.

However, when the Live Events industry re-opened in 2021, it experienced an overwhelming demand. According to Live Nation’s Third Quarter 2021 report, ticket sales were up 10% on 2019, and many festivals sold out in record time, proving a strong public appetite to make up for lost time and a highly resilient and relevant sector.

As a result, the Live Events industry has every chance of bouncing back to full health – but only with the help of government support and business investment. Without which, 2022 may see a noticeable loss of live events; many companies may not survive much longer, and many of the industry’s skilled freelancers may never return.

Adam Blaxill, Chair of PLASA, comments: “Companies and freelancers are acutely aware that there is a long road to recovery in front of the Live Events industry. The last couple of years have been fraught with financial difficulty and unexpected challenges, and most people anticipate more hurdles to come. As a director of a company in the creative sector and as Chair of PLASA, I call on the UK Government to recognise the complex challenges we face and assist in the recovery. We are renowned all over the world for what we do; our capability and the quality and creativity of our sector is world class, yet this survey clearly shows that it is being diminished – our capacity is declining and our talent is leaving!”

Download the PLASA and #WeMakeEvents survey report for free at www.plasa.org/plasa-wemakeevents-covid-survey-report-2022

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Press Release

Stealth lockdown brings Live Events Supply Chain back to the brink

£70billion contribution to the UK economy at risk once again – Government support needed to bounce back.

#WeMakeEvents urges Government to regard the live events sector as a highly viable industry worthy of investment and support.

With Government advice putting the decision-making onto the shoulders of the public, and consumer confidence eroding as a consequence, yet again we see the live events sector stressed to the limit.

Live events are traditionally the model of a robust sector, employing hundreds of thousands of personnel. A festival stage for example can employ upwards of 450 staff, a typical pantomime 50-100 staff. With record revenues in 2019 of £70billion, and reductions during 20/21 of up to 90%, businesses worked hard to bounce back and exceed revenues of November 2019 by November 2021. However, the current climate has already reduced this by 80% during December 2021 and is forecast to continue through January 2022.

From Lockdown-One in Spring 2020 until summer 2021, companies in this sector only received around 12% of Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) awards. And the ‘army’ of over half a million world-renowned, freelance, technical specialists were also largely denied support, with many still playing catch up having had no work for over a year with consequent debts and mental health issues mounting rapidly.

Whilst we are pleased to see the Government recognise the existence and critical role of freelancers in the entertainment sectors, the Chancellor’s announcement last week of £1.5milion 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.

Whilst we feel the pain for our colleagues in hospitality, widely covered by the media as being 40% down, the Live Events Supply Chain, (which traditionally feeds a significant level of hospitality revenues), is already facing cancellations of 80% and rising during December 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.

According to Peter Heath, Managing Director of PLASA (Professional Lighting and Sound Association) and Steering Group member of #WeMakeEvents: “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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Once again, the Government ignores the Live Events Supply Chain

Inadequate government funding risks the recovery of the UK’s world-leading sector. #WeMakeEvents urges the UK Government to recognise and provide adequate, fair financial support.

The recent government announcements to help hospitality, leisure and cultural industries on the surface are welcome, but they fall significantly short of providing the financial support needed by the live events supply chain, without whom these events cannot take place.

The live events sector was worth £70 billion to the UK economy and growing in 2019. This included manufacturers, production and equipment suppliers and an army of over half a million freelancers and specialists. From March 2020, live events had little to no acknowledgement from the government. Only around 12% of event supply chain companies benefited from the CRF lottery. Coupled to this, many local authorities did not recognise these companies as eligible for the available government grants. Not surprisingly the sector was on its knees by July 2021 when restrictions were lifted.

The disruption left by the lack of recognition and financial support since March 2020 led to enormous pressure on the remaining companies and individuals, accumulating huge debt along with a desperate shortage of highly skilled people.

Despite all this, the live events sector bounced back to pre-pandemic activity and revenues up until mid-December 2021, therefore proving it is a highly viable investment, and well deserving of support.

The recent crash in consumer confidence and cancellations, along with the impending capacity restrictions, which are already in place in parts of the UK, will devastate the sector with signs of up to 80% cancellations already. 

The proposed CRF criteria for this round is not inclusive – it is a lottery.

The local authorities’ ‘lucky dip’ on deciding eligibility will not be sufficient to help the companies and individuals survive and will decimate what was a £70 billion industry. 

Without financial support it will diminish the sector’s standing as world leaders in the delivery of live events and its cultural value in delivering festivals, theatre, music gigs, tours, sporting events, conferences, etc. which all add to the much-needed wellbeing of the nation.

The Live Events sector has suffered enough.

#WeMakeEvents urges the UK Government to recognise and provide adequate, fair financial support.

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Cancelled concerts causing chaos for live events and supply chain – #WeMakeEvents calls for urgent government support

In light of the growing Omicron crisis, #WeMakeEvents calls on the UK Government to provide urgent financial support for the live events supply chain including the freelance and self-employed community, in line with hospitality.

December is a huge month for the events industry, and cancellations are increasing rapidly every day. One production company alone has had £300,000 worth of work cancelled that was scheduled in from now up to Christmas Eve. The situation is exacerbated because these companies were just starting to recover and still have to pay all the wages and a percentage of sub-hire bills, which in the above case added a further £120,000+ to the debt.

The hospitality sector relies heavily on sales from events and therefore, with a pre-covid contribution from the live event sector alone of £70 billion to the UK economy, the live events sector should be recognised similarly. Most companies and freelancers only got the green light to return to work on 19 July following 16 months without income, and companies only received around 12% of the Culture Recovery fund that the Government put in place, and many freelancers were not able to obtain government support.

#WeMakeEvents is calling on the Government to urgently recognise the value of the live event sector alongside hospitality and provide a rescue package that allows:

  • Distribution of the remaining CRF funds and local authority grants
  • Instant rates waivers for businesses
  • Holidays on loan repayments
  • A Government provided ‘cancellation fund’ that the industry can draw on in the absence of Covid insurance. (Not only is the Government-backed insurance scheme not triggered unless there is a national lockdown, it is unsuitable or unavailable to most)
  • A support scheme to protect company employees and freelancer wages

There will be a press release early next week to industry and national press.

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BikeFest charity cycle to take place in Spain in 2022

Cyclists of all ages and abilities are invited to take part in BikeFest Spain 2022, a three-day fundraising ride from Valencia to ISE in Barcelona from 29-31 January, travelling 360km along the Mediterranean coast. The BikeFest team aims to raise funds for live events, entertainment and AV professionals who have suffered financially due to the pandemic.

BikeFest began in the UK, cycling to the PLASA Show each year to raise awareness for mental health. And in 2021, BikeFest returned to London, fundraising for industry colleagues impacted by the pandemic. This initiative was partnered with #WeMakeEvents, the global campaign spearheaded by PLASA in support of the live events supply chain.

BikeFest 2022 will be in Spain in time for the ISE convention. Two industry charities – Backup in the UK and AAA in Spain – will benefit from BikeFest 2022’s fundraising efforts, with organisations; PLASA, AVIXA, ISE, AFIAL, FIAVE and Alerta Roja supporting and promoting the initiative. 

Juan Jose Vila, COO and CMO of Equipson, conceived the idea of a charity bike ride in Spain and asked #WeMakeEvents to headline the project, alongside a partnership with AFIAL, PLASA, AVIXA and ISE. Over the last two years Juan has worked closely with these organisations to help the AV industry, winning AVIXA’s Volunteer of the year award 2021. He is also an active member of the Spanish #WeMakeEvents team, the Spanish equivalent of the campaign #hacemoseventos.

Juan comments: “Primarily, this event is all about raising funds for the organisations and charities that are supporting those struggling in the Live sector. But it is also about having fun and having a sustainable adventure where all the power is generated by our legs. The route isn’t too arduous and, because it sticks to the coast, doesn’t involve too many hills. With a bit of fitness almost everyone can do it. Of course, it is still a challenge to ride long distances over three days, but the challenge is manageable. We will even provide you with a six-week training plan if you want to take part.”

The ride will start in Valencia on 29 January, finishing at ISE on the 31st. Cyclists who wish to participate can sign up for all three days or single days. Day one from Valencia to Peñiscola is 140 km; Day two to Tarragona is 130 km; Day Three to Barcelona is 95km. Two feed stations will be provided each day and participants who sign up for more than one day will have hotel accommodation provided. Everyone who completes at least part of the ride will receive a medal and have their name included in the Riders Directory.

Juan adds: “Even if you can’t take part, you can still support the event by buying merch such as a BikeFest 2022 jersey, or just by donating. And, of course, if companies want to sponsor the event  they can as we want to raise as much as we can for this very worthwhile cause.”

Nicky Greet, PLASA membership director and co-founder and steering group member of #WeMakeEvents, comments: “It’s fantastic to see BikeFest grow and help our industry colleagues in Europe. Initiatives like this do so much more than just raise funds – they bring people together for a meaningful cause and strengthen cross-industry bonds. Together, we also remind the wider world that although the live sector is reopening, our ‘hidden’ industry still faces many challenges. So, let’s come together and raise awareness of the talented professionals behind live events, entertainment and AV!”

Mike Blackman, Managing Director of ISE adds: “Bike Fest is a brilliant way to get active and raise support for professionals within AV and Live Events industries – many of whom need help to get back on track after the pandemic. It is a stunning route along the coastline from Valencia to ISE’s new home in Barcelona, so if you are a keen cyclist please get involved and do something amazing. We look forward to seeing you back at ISE 2022 in Barcelona to ignite our great industry!”

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PLASA and #WeMakeEvents launch Covid recovery survey

PLASA and #WeMakeEvents have launched a survey to investigate the recovery of the live sector following the Covid-19 pandemic.

All types of industry professional are invited to take the survey, from freelancers and sole traders to manufacturing companies and venues. The deadline to complete the survey is Friday 3rd December.

The survey aims to illustrate a detailed picture of the events, entertainment and installation industries following over 18 months of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. This includes the supply of manufacturing components and finished goods, the availability of skilled workers, and the year on year changes in revenue and income.

The resulting data will strengthen the position of the industry when PLASA and #WeMakeEvents lobby government and will provide key insights into current challenges, allowing business leaders to plan for the future. Once all the data is collated and analyed, a full report of findings will be published on both the PLASA and #WeMakeEvents websites which will be free to view and download.

Click here to take the survey

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#WeMakeEvents campaign launches supporter scheme

#WeMakeEvents, the campaign to protect the live events supply chain, has launched #WeMakeEvents Supporters, a free sign-up scheme in which people can demonstrate their support for the live sector and gain helpful benefits and resources in return.

Everyone who signs up will receive access to webinars hosted by #WeMakeEvents and PLASA over the past 12 months, spanning business topics such as HR, Brexit and IP, as well as technical sessions, creative presentations and industry conversations. To assist freelancers and single person company directors further, these supporters will be able to request free credit checks on UK companies to reduce financial risk on purchases and investments.

#WeMakeEvents Supporters will be signposted to several industry resources, including Curtain Call’s new recruitment platform in which freelancers are matched with trusted and verified companies. Plus they will receive the weekly #WeMakeEvents newsletter and the online editions of Light & Sound International (LSi) and Lighting&Sound America (LSA) magazines.

Supporters can also get involved in the dynamic industry community with an invite to the weekly UK and monthly international #WeMakeEvents Zoom calls and a free entry badge for both PLASA Show and PLASA Focus Leeds which includes an invite to the official show parties.

Launched at PLASA Show 2021 in London last month, #WeMakeEvents Supporters has already seen a large uptake, demonstrating the ongoing high level of engagement to protect and promote live events and entertainment. Supporters can opt in to be listed on the webpage to add strength to the global movement which continues to amplify the voice of the industry at government level and across the public domain.

Andy Dockerty, Managing Director for Adlib and member of the #WeMakeEvents Steering Committee, comments, “We’re pleased to offer this new way of supporting #WeMakeEvents, specially for our industry’s large population of freelancers and single person company directors, who have been impacted heavily throughout the pandemic. The #WeMakeEvents community is really what drives the campaign, so as a thank you, we have put together a package of useful services and signposts along side invitations to get involved and make your voice heard.”

Koy Neminathan, Sales Director for Avolites and fellow member of the #WeMakeEvents Steering Committee, adds, “Right from the start we’ve been committed to building the international #WeMakeEvents community, and becoming a Supporter is a great way to stay connected with campaign developments as well as all the people who help make it happen.”

Find out more about becoming a #WeMakeEvents Supporter at www.wemakeevents.com/supporters