Red Alert campaign: London venues lit up red in support of #WeMakeEvents

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Image: The Royal Albert Hall

More than 300 venues across the country turned their lights red to highlight the crisis facing the live events industry.

Last night (August 11), London’s National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall were among the cultural landmarks to illuminate themselves as part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign. Tate Modern carried the slogan “throw us a line”.

A million jobs are estimated to be at risk in the events industry, which does not have a date from Government to reopen. There are fears that a £1.57 billion emergency aid package for the sector won’t trickle down to the army of lighting technicians, sound engineers and road crew which enable events.

The Professional Light and Sound Association (PLASA), which organised the initiative, said: “Our industry includes a huge supply chain ranging from production, audio, lighting and video, to logistics, planning, transportation, and some of the world’s leading technology manufacturers.

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“Without additional support for the supply chain, the UK is in danger of losing its global position as a world leader in world class events. Moreover, all of our incredible creatives and technicians could lose their livelihoods for good.”

It called on the Government for “meaningful support” for those affected until “the industry is allowed to operate in a way that is not limited by social distancing policies”.

In the capital, scores of events workers lined the banks of the Thames with their phones lit up red as part of the protests.

Level 42 bassist Mark King and singer-songwriter Frank Turner played live on a boat to mark the event.

Turner’s sound cut out as his guitar strap came off, with King helping him out. Turner said it underlined how important his crew are. He tweeted: “Honestly wasn’t a set up, but really highlighted how helpless we musicians are without our crew. Money pledged by the government so far does not go to the technical side of the industry. Without them, no shows. Make noise, keep fighting.”

Rebecca Kane Burton, chief executive of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres, who was on the boat, told the Standard: “Government is desperate for theatres to open again, but their £1.57bn rescue fund risks being wasted.

“As we enter the deepest recession on record, it’s vital that money is used as stimulus, not aid. It should underwrite productions that employ thousands of freelancers and bring people into cities, it must not be used to mothball the industry. The Prime Minister can save British theatre, but he must act now.”

In Manchester, hundreds of out-of-work crew workers took part in a silent march past many of the city’s closed venues.

There were similar shows of support across the country, in towns and cities such as Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Bristol.

Music venues and theatres have been shut in the UK since lockdown began in May. They were due to reopen for indoor performances from August 1, but this date was pushed back by Prime Minister Boris Johnson by “at least” a fortnight.


Written by Jochan Embley & Alex Lawson for London Evening Standard and published 12 August 2020. Source