Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Sunday 02 August 2020

Peter Gabriel Highlights Gravity Of A Live Events Industry On The Verge Of Collapse

Peter Gabriel, platinum selling artist and co-founder of WOMAD has just announced his support for #WeMakeEvents to raise awareness of the struggling live events industry that is set to collapse over the next few weeks.

Over a million estimated members of staff, freelancers, and businesses working in the events supply chain are struggling without tailored financial support or attention from the government – this includes sound engineers, lighting technicians, caterers and many more.

Peter Gabriel said:

"In any normal year we would just have had our WOMAD Festival. A few months ago, in March, we just finished a festival in New Zealand and on our way back things were very chaotic as Covid-19 was hitting hard. 

"Glastonbury was cancelled, we were told that we weren't going to be given a license for our festival so we had to cancel. 

"Live events around the world and across the entire landscape from major festivals to grassroots venues and business events have been devastated."

Industry experts have found seven in ten live events businesses have up to two months of cash reserves left, and only forty-two per cent of business owners believe Rishi Sunak's £1.57 billion Arts rescue package will increase revenue over the next six months with venues reopening. 

Peter's announcement is a direct message to the government and public, aiming to bring attention to the huge progress that has been made over the last few years in terms of set management, lighting and sound. 

He is shining a light on the need for support so the sector does not experience a further skill drain.

Peter continued:

The live events sector employs over 600,000 highly skilled people in the UK - event production, audio, lighting, video, logistics, planning, transportation and technology - over seventy percent of which are freelancers. 

"All of whom have had no work for the past four months with little likelihood of restarting until Spring 2021 at the earliest. 

"A lot of high arts have now been given some support, but people working on the festival side of things and in live events have been forgotten about and I hope they are not forgotten about any longer. 

"Around the UK they've created something which I think is the best in the world."

To raise awareness of the industry's decline and the loss of skilled workers, leading trade body, PLASA, has initiated the #WeMakeEvents campaign - which is now on Red Alert.

Peter concludes:

"Millions of pounds worth of supplier contracts had to be withdrawn and cancelled and for every single festival these contractors and crews had exactly the same story. 

"They lost that income, they're going to lose their jobs. 

"We've been dependent on their work and services for over 30 years and many of them have become friends over this time. They're really suffering hard.

"Even though, despite our own losses, we and some others are setting up some small funds for retraining, this industry really urgently needs proper support of the like that has been given to many other businesses. 

"Without this immediate support from government, the entire supply chain is at risk of collapse. 

"Financial support needs to be extended to the people and companies in this sector until they can return to work.

"Many of these people are freelancers so don't fall under furlough schemes, so right now they are feeling the pinch very badly and if we want live events and festivals to stay an important British business then it needs to be supported."

by: Mike Cobley


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