On Tuesday 11 August #WeMakeEvents will take action across the UK to raise awareness and shine a light on the imminent collapse of the UK touring, festival and events industry – Manchester will be the only location to hold a socially distanced March in order to draw attention to the numbers of people and their livelihoods affected by the government closure of the events industry.
This world-class industry is on the edge of losing a wealth of talent, expertise and a culture like no other across the world, with 114,000 of jobs at risk. A major concern being that only 50% of these companies have capital to get them through the next 4 months – so come the end of the year these businesses will not be in a position to open.
Greater Manchester Production & Events Industry companies and freelancers have come together to hold an event outside of London to support the campaign and show this is an issue across the UK. The Manchester music community is also pledging its support, with New Order, Doves, Mani and Blossoms helping raise awareness for the initiative and the march.
Blossoms said: “Our industry is in need of urgent action. Due to the Covid-19 crisis the whole music & live events sector has been devastated. So many skilled people are at risk of being lost to the whole industry if government support doesn’t come soon. Millions of talented people, including many people close to us, need help now. Please join together to support the campaign and call for the government to act now!” #WeMakeEvents
Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said, “Freelancers and the self-employed are the forgotten workforce during Covid. Where other businesses have had access to Government support, those who work for themselves have been left behind. I personally know of many DJs, photographers, sound engineers and artists who were at the top of their industries pre-Covid and who have now been forced to give up their passions and who are now working in retail or construction just to make ends meet.
I have been particularly concerned not only about the financial strain these individuals have been under, but also the mental health toll the pandemic has taken. Mental health is something all of us should be aware of more than ever right now and I urge everyone to check in on each other more. If you are struggling, please reach out for help.
I am pleased to be a part of the march this week for these forgotten thousands and hope that it helps to shine a light on the serious issue at hand. While we all stand together in solidarity, I urge everyone taking part in the march to respect social distancing measures.”
Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers Lucy Powell MP said: “For many weeks, I have been calling on the Government to provide targeted support to the Hospitality Sector to save jobs and livelihoods. Sadly, there is a whole industry that they have simply ignored the calls of help from. In Manchester, we have one of the largest, flourishing events and festivals scenes in the UK. We have one of the largest event spaces, one of the most used in door arenas in Europe and one of the largest municipal parks in the UK. Presently, they lay dormant, with the consequence being many freelancers and event staff left penniless since March, with no hope or guidance. I’m supporting this Tuesdays march, to highlight the plight of the events industry and supply chain, to not only raise awareness of this lost industry, but again to call on the Government to recognise this sector.”
Julie Cotton, Production Co-Ordinator for artists such as Massive Attack, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Elbow commented: “We are making our voices heard for the UK live music, touring, festival and events industry. We are currently facing the potential decimation of the UK live music and events industry; the UK’s culture and entertainment sector is the envy of the world.
We need continued government support in order for us to survive. The industry by nature is unseen. Thousands of people WERE working every day to give the general public cultural experiences and moments they will never forget. This is no more. On Tuesday 11th August the ‘behind the scenes’ backbone of the industry in Manchester are coming together, making themselves visible to ensure that UNTIL concerts, festivals and events are safe to resume they have the support they need from the government.”
The Manchester Music & Events industry march will start at 12:00 (midday) on Tuesday 11th August. The march will include a flight case push across a designated route through the city – from Manchester Academy through to St. Peters Square – that will pass iconic venues, that are currently shuttered. The protestors will be from all areas of industry from Sound Engineers to Security, Truck Drivers to Tour Managers, Cleaners to Crew, Box Office to Finance staff, and anyone else that plays a part in a concert, event or festival.
With no work, companies are laying off staff. Self-employed people are leaving the industry to attempt to find alternative work. Parts of the industry will not survive through to next spring or summer. This is not just a job, it is a way of life. The Government MUST offer continued support to all levels of our industry after October 1st.
The march will be compliant with Covid-19 safety regulations. This will include strict social distancing and hygiene procedures, showcasing the discipline and professionalism of the industry. #WeMakeEvents are also working in partnership with Music Support, a charity supporting those in any area of UK music industry suffering addiction, emotional or mental health issues.