This is a photo of me doing the job I love. While it might not seem that much, this was actually a big deal. Making a film about the #WeMakeEvents campaign yesterday was the first time our team at The Inside Story has got together to do a production like this since February. Despite this, we consider ourselves to be the lucky ones. We have been able to keep going with other kinds of PR and digital marketing work. For literally thousands of people in the live events sector that we are dedicated to, there has been no work of any kind since March.
Some of the stories I was told last night are genuinely heart breaking. I interviewed everyone from freelance front of house engineers and musicians to manufacturers and music producers. They all told me a familiar story – they are having to make redundancies as they are not allowed to work, they cannot provide jobs for freelancers because they are not allowed to work. These are highly skilled, talented people who make a huge contribution to our culture and economy, they run profitable companies and create events that are the envy of the world. It is currently against the law for the vast majority of them to work, and they are being ignored.
Things are bad now, even with the furlough and freelance support schemes in place. Come October when those end, there will be nothing. This will be a crisis for the industry. The necessary social distancing measures that are in place mean that the majority of events are not economically viable. Until this changes, the live events industry will not be able to get back to work. Even in the best-case scenario, this is unlikely to be before Spring 2021. For many people this means they will either need to survive a year without work, or they will need to leave the industry and take their talent elsewhere.
What the events industry is asking for seems to be reasonable: support while it is illegal for them to work. To be honest, as one of my interviewees last night pointed out, it makes basic business sense for the government to support an industry that is a huge net contributor to the economy. It is an investment now to earn back huge returns later down the line.
People on the technical side of events don’t like to be the centre of attention, if they are it is usually because something has gone wrong, so it is very easy to ignore them. Please don’t. Please help the industry to raise awareness of the situation it is facing. For my friends in the UK, join the campaign and write to your MP – you can download templates from https://www.plasa.org/send-letters-local-mps/. For my international friends, there will be similar movements in your countries, please support them.
I know that I will be back doing the job that I love at some point. Unfortunately, I know that not everyone else in this industry will be able to say that.