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#WeMakeEvents: Global Action Day kicks off

The #WeMakeEvents Global Action Day kicked off in the southern hemisphere earlier today as venues in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were illuminated in red to highlight the urgent support needed for the events sector.

Thousands of venues and places of work across the globe will #LightInRed from 8pm local time in a bid to draw media attention and government support for the industry, which is struggling to survive the Covid-19 crisis.

The #WeMakeEvents/Red Alert protest first launched in the UK in August and has since been adopted internationally, inspiring similar protests in France, the US, the NetherlandsGermanyBelgium and Spain.

Global Action Day will bring together around 20 countries, each campaigning for different resolutions from their respective governments.

While international lighting company Bandit Lites is lobbying for the Restart Act to be part of the next relief bill, Norway’s National Theatre has called for an extension in the compensation scheme, however, all nations will be united today under the red banner with the hope to progress the sector’s crisis.

“We mark the danger the industry is in after the government’s decision to end the compensation scheme for self-employed,” Norway’s National Theatre said in an Instagram post.

“The scheme introduced in April has so far hit well and ensured that independent art and cultural workers have survived the corona crisis until now. If the government does not turn in the decision, large parts of the industry will be eradicated.”

“The Restart Act as part of the next relief bill is the only thing that will save all of the live events industry. No other act will save us all,” Bandit Lites said in an Instagram post.

“We need [the government] to offer financial support to the crews that actually make it all possible”

Emily Eavis, co-organiser of the UK’s Glastonbury festival says: “We need the government to recognise what the performing arts bring to the fabric of this country, and how much it adds to the well-being of so many.”

“We need them to offer financial support not just to the venues and organisations that put together these performances, but also to the crews that actually make it all possible.”

Coldplay are among the many international artists who have backed the campaign, adding: “Emily Eavis said it perfectly. The live music and events industry has been devastated. We urge the UK government to support all crew and staff who have lost their livelihoods.”

While Radiohead said: “What we do on stage is only part of the equation of putting on a good show. Our crew are at the heart of making it happen for all of us, band and audience alike. They’re incredible and that’s why we’re supporting #WeMakeEvents and invite you to do so as well, if possible.”

Yesterday, the UK held a second, silent and socially distanced, protest under the banner Stand As One, in Parliament Square.

It was also announced yesterday that a number of UK industry professionals are planning to cycle over 1,500 km as part of a charity event dubbed The Survival Tour, organised in support of the #WeMakeEvents campaign.

Five professionals from Loud Sound and Proper Productions will cycle from Newcastle to London via over 50 UK venues and festival sites to symbolise what would have been the start of touring season.

All donations from The Survival Tour will go to #WeMakeEvents charity of choice, Backup, which supports people who have worked in the entertainment technology industry for at least five years.

Elsewhere, following Spain’s #WeMakeEvents/Red Alert (Alerta Roja) protest last week, the campaigning group has met with the minister for culture and sports to ask for a package of measures to support the country’s struggling production sector.

The meeting, which took place on Monday (28 September), saw minister José Luis Rodríguez Uribes commit to working in coordination with the relevant ministries, public institutions and the sector to find solutions to the crisis.

More highlights from the Global Action Day to follow.


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Spanish protesters declare ‘alerta roja’

The Spanish production sector has become the latest to take to the streets as part of the increasingly international #WeMakeEvents/Red Alert protest movement.

According to the Spanish Association of Music Promoters (APM), yesterday (17 September) saw some 16,000 live entertainment professionals hold protests – while prominent buildings and venues were illuminated red – in 28 cities to raise awareness of the state’s perceived lack of support for the sector during the coronavirus crisis.

The demonstrations, plans for which were announced earlier this month, follow similar protests in France, the US, the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Germany. As in Belgium, the Spanish demonstrators flooded the streets with empty flight cases symbolising widespread unemployment among production crews and staff.

Protesters also called for the creation of a pan-industry working group to build “firm, solid and durable foundations for the sector, which needs laws adapted to its special circumstances and particularities”, reports APM, “allowing all those involved to have legal certainty” about the future.

The Alerta Roja (Red Alert) campaign had previously declined a meeting with the minister of culture and sports, noting that: “We need a meeting with all the ministries involved: culture and sports, labour, industry, tourism, economic affairs and the treasury.”

“We, along with everyone who works in the live events sector, are on red alert”

Posting on Twitter, a spokesperson said yesterday had been a historic day for the Spanish live events business.

UK entertainment technology association Plasa, one of the driving forces behind the UK-born #WeMakeEvents campaign, thanked the “global industry community for stepping out of the shadows and calling for further support”.

A statement from the 16,000-capacity WiZink Center in Madrid – normally Spain’s most-visited indoor arena – explained: “Today our facade is lit up red to support the Alerta Roja campaign. Because we, and everyone who works in the live events sector, are on red alert.”

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Netherlands to adopt Germany’s Night of Live

Buildings in the Netherlands belonging to professionals in the event industry will be illuminated red to encourage governmental support for the country’s struggling live sector.

Night of Live will take place during the night of 25-26 August in a bid to draw attention to the problems in the events sector caused by the coronavirus crisis.

The initiative was originally launched in Germany on the night of 22-23 June and saw thousands of music-related buildings from 1,500 cities across the country turn red to protest the continuation of the industry’s shutdown.

“If we don’t take action, we will face a wave of bankruptcies. The colour red represents the love for and fraternization of the event industry, the red list of endangered industries and red alarm,” says Stijn Oude Vrielink, owner of Venue Marketing, who initiated the campaign.

“The red represents the love for and fraternization of the event industry, the red list of endangered industries and red alarm”

“This campaign was so successful that I wanted to organize something similar for the Netherlands,” says Oude Vrielink. “We started preparations a month ago and we went live this week. Everyone is very enthusiastic.”

The UK also took inspiration from Night of Live and on 6 July, #LightItInRed initiated a lighting action that saw nearly 700 buildings, monuments, landmarks, and spaces all over the UK lit in “emergency red” to raise awareness about the challenges facing the live events industry.

The initiative’s organisers, the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (Plasa), will launch the next phase of the campaign on 11 August. The Red Alert initiative will once again light music-related buildings in red to prompt the government to take action with the £1.57 billion culture rescue fund.


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