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Dutch events sector joins Belgium’s Sound of Silence

The Dutch live business has announced it will participate in Belgium’s Sound of Silence campaign, which went viral at the beginning of August.

The initiative saw swathes of Belgians denounce the government for the lack of support in the culture and events sector by changing their profile pictures to an orange “Sound of Silence” cross and tweet with the hashtag #SoundOfSilence.

The campaign was launched on 10 August as the country’s newly formed Live Sector Consultation warned in an open letter that tens of millions of euros are needed to prevent the collapse of the €1bn Belgian live music industry.

Jolanda Jansen, director of Dutch arena Rotterdam Ahoy, and spokesperson on behalf of the alliance says, “The coronavirus and its impact are transnational. Many initiatives are also emerging in the Netherlands and we are also feeling increasing pressure to take action. You can reinvent the wheel, but collaboration is exactly what we want with the alliance; the Low Countries are joining forces. ”

The Dutch campaign is being spearheaded by the Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers), a new umbrella organisation comprising promoters’ association VVEM, festival/venues body VNPF and other industry bodies.

As well as Sound of Silence, The Netherlands are also taking note from Germany’s initiative, Night of Live, which will see music-related buildings illuminated in red on 25 August.

“Many initiatives are also emerging in the Netherlands and we are also feeling increasing pressure to take action”

“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.

“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 Netherlands relaxed its coronavirus regulations from 1 July, removing the capacity limit for seated indoor and outdoor events, provided fans have undergone health checks before entry.

The capacity limit for events that do not undertake health checks increased to 100 for indoor venues and 250 for outdoor shows from 1 July, while festivals in the Netherlands have to obtain licences from local authorities before being able to resume.

Nightclubs and discos remain closed until 1 September – which was the original deadline for the ban on large-scale events. The rules for clubs and similar venues will be reassessed at the end of August.

Intiatives similar to Sound of Silence have launched throughout Europe including the UK’s #WeMakeEvents campaign, which was organised by the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (Plasa) to raise awareness surrounding the struggling freelancers who work across the live events and entertainment sector.

The campaign followed on from the UK’s initial call-to-arms, Let the Music Play, which launched a social media campaign and a letter laying out the necessary support measures, signed by artists and industry professionals, which was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden.


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