Don’t let events Go Dark! #Covid19
In the space of a week in March 2020 100% of the events in our diary vanished. Work that existed through years of building connections and relationships with so many people in the arts and entertainment industries, corporate clients and charities locally and nationally.
The initial feeling was one of despondency, it was incredibly similar to when I was made redundant from a large visitor attraction operator in Christmas 2001. What was all that work for, why did I bother etc etc. However this couldn’t last long and have learnt that a short period of feeling sorry for myself is ok but quickly have to shut up and move on.
We had overheads to meet, monthly running costs and of course team members to pay. Laying people off or furloughing was not an option I considered, we run a very tight ship and everyone has a vital part to play if we are going to stay in business.
Thankfully projects that we had been involved in previously (for example content for video walls for concerts and conferences, projection solutions for theatre companies and pop-up tv studios for the Methodist Church) led us into a whole new world of digital technology and in turn into the emerging world of live-streaming. We threw ourselves into projects such as the honey-box which allowed us to hone and perfect new techniques and skills for the team.
Suddenly ‘online’ was one of the few ways people could keep in touch and work quickly started to materialise. This has allowed us to continue to be buoyant and thankfully pass some of this work on to our usual group of freelance team.
This was not forward planning in preparation for such a pandemic, this was simply us pursuing the love of what we do. Never have I been so grateful at the approach and investment that we have made in the past 5 years of our 19 years in business.
However, unsurprisingly, the event industry is in a very bad way. We are in the business of invited people to meet together and share the enjoyment of live entertainment be it in theatres, cinemas, open air arenas or more peculiar site-specific events.
With this in mind we will probably be the last industry to get back to whatever normal we will be left with when the lights begin to go back on.
This is why we are supporting the #WeMakeEvents initiative to lobby the Government for support of the entertainment sector. Those freelancers and employees who have years of knowledge and skills need to be supported if we are safely to get back to business when it is safe to do so. As do the companies who have the equipment and resources that make events possible. Don’t let events go dark!
And you can help in many ways, have a look on the PLASA website on Covid 19 for details. There is an informative video detailing the scale of the problem and the info graphics below detail the amount of people affected and what the event industry means to the economy.