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Venues to light up red to show solidarity for beleaguered sector

The live events industry is taking part in a global day of action today (Wednesday) as venues, landmarks and buildings will light up in red to show solidarity with sector professionals and the suffering industry as a whole.

The third edition of the #LightItInRed action from the We Make Events campaign comes on the heels of the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announcing details of the government’s new winter economy plan for the next six months last week as the furlough scheme comes to an end.

The music industry complained over the lack of support for the many musicians, self-employed and the staff within venues forced to close due to COVID-19. Leaders within the sector elevated their criticism yesterday after Health and Care Minister Helen Whately claimed that it “doesn’t make sense” to keep supporting jobs in the beleaguered sector.

Critics of the winter plan say it will lead to a wave of mass redundancies and venue closures before the end of 2020.

Following the announcement, the UK Council of Music Makers (CMM), which is made up of the Featured Artists Coalition, Ivors Academy, Music Managers Forum, Music Producers Guild and the Musicians’ Union, has urged the government for sector-specific support for individuals.

A recent Musicians’ Union survey of 2,000 of their members revealed that 34 per cent of musicians may quit the industry due to COVID-19, while 47 per cent have been forced to look for work outside of music. It also found that 70 per cent are unable to do more than a quarter of their usual work, while 87 per cent covered by furlough and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme would face financial hardship when schemes end in their current form; and 88 per cent do not think that government has done enough to support musicians.

The letter reads: “In addition to other restrictions, as we look to another business quarter with no live music, and nowhere in sight for it to return in full, we urgently need support to avoid the decay of our industry, the hardship experienced by our workforce and the mass exodus of highly-skilled individuals, which will result in irreparable damage to lives, businesses and the world-class standing of the U.K. music industry.”

Meanwhile, a new report from Live DMA, a European live music network comprising 16 member countries, estimates a €1.2bn loss in audience income for the 2,600 music venues it represents.

It predicts that 664,000 artist performances will not take place in the venues, because 284,000 music events are cancelled or postponed this year due to COVID-19.

It expects a 76 per cent decline in audience visits this year, leading to a €1.2bn loss in audience income for the venues. These losses account for an estimated €496m less income from ticket sales, €521m less income from food & beverages sales and €172m less other income.

According to Live DMA, audience income makes up 84 per cent of the more than €1.8bn income the venues were expected to generate in 2020.

Image: We Make Events campaign