Featured News

UK outdoor events sector on “brink of permanent demise”

UK outdoor events industry urges additional government support, as a new events industry body has been formed in Scotland and Australian theme parks are looking to open next week…

Outdoor events industry

The UK’s National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) said outdoor concert and festival businesses are “on the brink of permanent demise” due to the COVID-19 shutdown of live events.

According to a recent survey by the organisation, around half of the companies surveyed will not survive to the end of the year without additional government support.

NOEA’s membership of 480 event-based firms include promoters and organisers of outdoor shows, as well as companies that provide production, technical, security, logistical and other services to such events.

The study found that 84 per cent of those surveyed have seen all the events they were scheduled to work on this summer cancelled. More than half have suffered losses of more than £100,000, with the association estimating that the average loss to event businesses is £539,431.

Three quarters of those surveyed have utilised the government’s support schemes to furlough staff, but 65 per cent said that redundancies will still be necessary to remain afloat.

“These events are one pay cheque away from going out of business,” said NOEA president Tom Clements.

“If they can get them, government grants will get businesses through the next few months, but without any confidence on a September return, the vast portion of the festival season will be gone or at best stagnant until March/April next year.”

Scottish event industry

Scotland’s first national Events Industry Advisory Group has been established to represent the events and festivals sector amid the pandemic.

The group has been formed comprising 17 senior members from across the industry representing a range of events including professional sport, music, culture and business featuring organisers, venues, local authorities and the supply chain.

It has been formed off the back of a series of industry-wide forums hosted by EventScotland to assess the impact of the pandemic on the sector. The meetings highlighted an urgent requirement for an industry-wide body to provide a co-ordinated voice during the national response and recovery planning.

Peter Duthie, chief executive of the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) and chair of the Events Industry Advisory Group, said: “These are hugely challenging times for our industry and it is vital that we have a collective voice to represent and champion the sector to Scottish Government during national response and to influence recovery planning.

“We have submitted our main concerns to Fiona Hyslop and look forward to continued engagement. As a group we are absolutely committed to working with Government to find a way through this crisis and to help inform the decision-making process.”

Hyslop is the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture and Scotland is scheduled to review lockdown phases tomorrow (Thursday).

London Theatre Direct

London Theatre Direct has claimed a West End first after launching Apple Wallet tickets to support contactless ticketing when theatres reopen after COVID-19.

Theatregoers with an iPhone or Apple Watch will have the option to download their ticket directly to their devices for a growing number of shows.

“London Theatre Direct is excited to play an important role in improving the ticket buying experience and helping ensure that when theatres reopen, following the closures resulting from COVID-19, access will be safer and more secure through the use of digital tickets” said Francis Hellyer, co-founder and chief executive of London Theatre Direct.

“London Theatre Direct has been at the forefront of technical innovation within the ticketing industry helping theatre goers take full advantage of new payment options, electronic ticket delivery and convenient mobile and voice activated ticket purchase options.”

London Theatre Direct is working closely with theatres, over 150 of which the ticketing company connects to directly via integrations.

The firm said it is looking into rolling out support for alternative devices in the coming weeks.

Australian theme parks

Australian theme parks will begin to open on June 26 at 50 per cent of their capacity with pre-booked tickets and queuing apps to support social distancing measures.

Village Roadshow Limited, which operates theme parks and cinemas across the country, will reopen the first of its attractions from Friday next week, while others will begin to reopen in July.

The company said that Seaworld and Paradise Country will open their doors first on June 26, while Australian Outback Spectacular will reopen on July 3. Warner Bros. Movie World and WetNWild will open on July 15.

Movie World will not put on its Streets Star Parade due to social distancing measures, which will also impacts contact meetings between visitors and characters, and seating at the theatre and outdoor stadiums will be reduced.

While the parks will operate at half of their capacity to begin with, the goal is to progressively reach normal capacity by September if COVID-19 numbers remain low.

Image: OrnaW