#WeMakeEvents Global Day of Action

Beams emit from Foyle Bridge, Derry in support of the #WeMakeEvents campaign. Photo: Lorcan Doherty.

Over 25 countries took part in #WeMakeEvents Global Action Day on 30 September, unifying to highlight the plight of the live events industry in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

At 8pm local time on 30 September, live events professionals and campaigners engaged in a range of creative responses to the affects of the pandemic on the sector, such as bathing iconic buildings in red light as part of the ongoing #LightItRed campaign, as well as shining beams of white light into the night sky to highlight those who have lost jobs following the lockdown of live events.

It is reported that over 30 million people across the globe who work in the live events sector. The majority of which have not worked since the COVID-19 outbreak in March and remain unsure as to when, and if, their work will return this year. Following previous events and campaigns organised by the #WeMakeEvents team, the Global Action Day sought to bring together the global industry and highlight the impact of what is effectively a global shutdown of live events.

The action began 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 in ’emergency red’ light. The red wave then moved through other countries such as India, the Philippines, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Norway and South Africa, among others.

Director of DWR Distribution, Duncan Riley, commented: “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.

ExCeL London CEO, Jeremy Rees, commented: “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 industry figures who used their social media channels to raise additional awareness. These included Coldplay, Annie Mac, Emily Eavis, Radiohead, Fatboy Slim, James Bay, Mumford and Sons and Eddie Izzard, to name but a few.

Adlib Managing Director, Andy Dockerty, concluded: “This was an important event as it truly did show a real sense of camaraderie 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.