The events industry in Scotland shone a light on themselves and their plight this evening in Edinburgh.
The event professionals stood as one for the Global Day of Action as part of the #WeMakeEvents campaign.
In Edinburgh many buildings lit up red to represent the effect that the pandemic is having on those who work in this industry.
Rishi Sunak the UK Chancellor will bring furlough to an end at the end of October and in its place the Winter Economy Plan is regarded by the sector as the way to hardship and possible ruin. Many jobs in the sector may be noted unviable by the UK Government and many people working there are freelancers.
Miriam Wolanski, Scotland’s Demonstration Lead said: “We are on the precipice where Live Events are concerned in Scotland and on a Global Scale. Artists, Technicians and the supply chain of Live Events have been hit hard. We were the first industry out and the last to inevitably come back on account of the UK Government’s restrictions due to the pandemic.
“Our action today has been supported by and organised in line with City of Edinburgh Council – Event Planning & Operations Group Scotland and Police. This is seen as a test event for an event gathering that is up to the maximum currently allowed in Scotland under the most recent guidance.
“We are asking for better support as much of the funding that has been allocated has come in a non-sustainable manner for freelancers and businesses who rely solely on events as a source of income. The eligibility criteria has made it extremely difficult for people to gain access to this funding and when it does come it’s a race to see who can get it first.
“The majority of freelancers fall short in qualifying for grants and we are seeing a lot of finances go into venues, yet these venues are still culling the jobs of the majority of the people who are needed to run them. We need good financial support – better grants as opposed to loans.
“With no return to work date or an investment in the methodology for resuming, workers are left in limbo. Scotland has an incredible creative skilled workforce with a wonderful diverse culture. We are in danger of losing those celebrations that connect us together and we must act now to preserve it.”
Jamie Ford, one of the organisers for #wemakeevents in Scotland said: “The situation for the events industry in Scotland, and throughout the world, is shocking. Thousands of professionals in Scotland who operate in live music, theatre, conferencing, festivals – and the wider events supply chain on the whole – are out of work due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most contractors and specialists operating within live events don’t have viable jobs at present as live events are bound by COVID-19 restrictions. Scotland’s Event Producers Independent Committee (EPIC) found that their members have had 78% of all work has cancelled for 2020-21 and the percentage is increasing every day. We are witnessing a devastation of our creative industries.”
Stand As One is part of the #WeMakeEvents global campaign set to highlight how the global live events industry urgently needs support and 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 little possibility of a financially viable return for the foreseeable future.
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We’re proud to stand alongside venues across the UK tonight, lighting up in red to bring attention to the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the arts and entertainment sector. We are viable. We are a significant part of the UK’s economy. And we need urgent financial support to survive the pandemic. According to the DCMS, the Cultural Sector’s value exceeds £100bn, and was the fastest growing sector in 2017. We are viable! We are calling on the UK government to provide immediate support to save our venues. Without it, the UK arts industry may never recover. #WeMakeEvents #LightItInRed #WeAreViable #SaveOurVenues #LetTheMusicPlay