Venues across the UK and around the world lit up in red yesterday (Wednesday) in a show of support for the We Make Events campaign, which is urging governments to provide much-needed financial support for the live events industry amid COVID-19.
Venues such as Wembley Stadium, The O2 and the SSE Hydro were among those to take part in the campaign, which has received support from a number of major music acts.
Yesterday marked We Make Events’ Global Day of Action and signalled a new phase of the campaign, which will continue to alert governments to the current state of the live events industry and the difficulties venues are facing.
At 8pm local time yesterday, event professionals from thousands of cities across more than 25 countries showed their support for the campaign.
Venues were also encouraged to beam shafts of white light into the night sky to signify potential job losses, and project images of events that would have been taking place inside onto the outside of empty venues.
As part of the day of action arranged with the #WeMakeEvents campaign, hundreds of creative industry workers gathered in Westminster to protest against the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Panto Parade echoed calls from across the industry demanding the government creates sector-specific support to help theatre workers through the crisis.
About half-a-dozen pantomime dames were at the demonstration, which was organised by the creative industries union Bectu and the campaign group ExcludedUK, in full costume. The protesters holding placards such as “RIP Theatre” and “Are you behind us?” called for a subsidised theatre ticket scheme while social distancing restrictions remain and government-backed insurance for live events and theatre performances.
The annual pantomime season is considered vital because it makes theatres sustainable throughout the year, as it can provide a quarter of the year’s box-office sales.
Meanwhile, in the US, the newly introduced Heroes Act has allocated $10bn in grant money for the ‘Save Our Stages Act,’ which is designed to help arts and performance organisations survive the pandemic.
Save Our Stages, which was introduced by senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn, includes venues impacted by coronavirus-related closures to apply for funding to pay for up to 45 per cent of their operating costs, capped at $12m. Funds could be applied to rent, utilities, payments to contractors, administrative costs, and other costs.
The full Heroes Act allocates $2.2tn across stimulus checks, increased unemployment benefits, and more.