Thursday 30th of September marked the #WeMakeEvents Global Action Day, in which countries from across the globe came together in solidarity to highlight the plight that is currently facing the worldwide live events industry. In total, over 25 countries took part at 8pm local time, with activations delivering a range of creative responses, such as lighting iconic buildings in red to highlight how the industry is in red alert, as well as beaming shafts of white light into the sky to highlight the mass job losses.
There are over 30 million people across the globe who work in live events; the majority of which have not worked since the COVID-19 outbreak and remain unsure as to when their work will return. Following previously successful Days of Actions from the #WeMakeEvents team, the Global Action Day sought to bring together the global industry and highlight the impact that its effective shutdown is having throughout the world.
The action started in New Zealand and Australia, where key landmarks such as the Auckland Sky Tower, The Domain in Sydney and Perth’s Matagarup Bridge were illuminated. The red wave then moved through other countries including India, the Philippines, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Norway and South Africa, to name but a few.
Based in South Africa, Duncan Riley is Director of DWR Distribution, South Africa’s leading supplier of lighting, audio and AV equipment for the country’s entertainment industry. He comments: “The past seven months have really been trying times for our industry in South Africa. To see the freelancers struggle and having to say good-bye and retrench our own staff, has been the most difficult part. Simply put, we cannot continue as a live events industry as the country now stands”.
In the UK, where the #WeMakeEvents campaign first started, a range of iconic buildings were lit, including the London Eye, Royal Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall and ExCel Centre. Jeremy Rees, CEO, ExCeL London, comments: “Before COVID-19, the UK events industry was a world-class sector worth £70bn, employing over 700,000 people, across 25,000 businesses. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our sector. We’re calling on the Government to extend the support available to our industry and provide clarity on when the events sector will be able to reopen. We are totally committed to continuing to work with the Government to explore ways of resuming business in a safe, COVID-secure manner and are determined to build confidence around this”.
The event also received the support of many high-profile artists who used their social media channels to raise additional awareness. These included Coldplay, Radiohead, Fatboy Slim, James Bay, Noel Gallagher, Mumford and Sons and Eddie Izzard to name but a few. With such vast coverage and the campaign’s vital message being heard on a global scale, it is hoped that the respective governments will work with the live events industry and provide the support it needs.
Andy Dockerty, Managing Director of Adlib, and one of those behind #WeMakeEvents, concludes: “This was an important event as it truly did show a real sense of comradery and proves how we’re all in it together. Speaking to other participants in the various countries, it seems as though certain governments are actually helping companies and venues find ways in which to put on events, whereas others are simply ignoring all pleas. The purpose of this event was to get all governments to ensure our normally thriving industry survives this current crisis, be ready to help the global economy recover, and that hundreds of thousands of jobs are saved in the process”.
The momentum of recent activities will continue over the next weeks and months as #WeMakeEvents moves into Restart, the next phase of creative action. More details will follow in the coming days.