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#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.

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D-DAY COUNTDOWN – WEMAKEEVENTS 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 .