Why I Took Part In The #WeMakeEvents Demonstrations
Yesterday, August 11, the streets of many UK cities were awash with music industry workers, demonstrating under the #WeMakeEvents banner. The ‘Red alert day of action’ was designed to raise awareness of the live events industry, which has been devastated in the wake of COVID-19 and lockdown, and isn’t receiving enough support from the British government.
One such demonstrator was Kamran Haq, a promoter for Live Nation in the UK, who took part in the Manchester march alongside 1,000 venue managers, stage crew, tour managers, engineers, cleaners, bar staff and other event industry workers.
“It was amazing to see such a great turnout, everyone wore masks and socially distanced,” says Kamran. “Over 1,000 people in took part in the Manchester march and thousands more took part in events in various cities across the UK. For a lot of people it was great see friends and work colleagues, as many people hadn’t seen each other since the events industry shut down in mid-March.”
So, Kamran, what was the demonstration yesterday all about?
“The demonstration was part of a day of action across the UK to raise awareness of the events sector, which is worth £100 billion and employs up to 1 million people in the UK. Every show relies on a complex supply chain involving hundreds of professionals – from sound and lighting engineers to touring techs, venue techs and stage crew – and without receiving support from the government, we will lose these skilled people that make events happen because they will have moved on to other jobs by the time our industry gets back on its feet.”
Why did you feel like you had to get involved?
“It was important to show support, because without all the people behind the scenes, no live events, shows or festivals would happen. So many friends and colleagues in the events industry are struggling to survive as they aren’t able to work and they are receiving limited support from the government, which will end soon.”
What more can be done to support the live music sector?
“It would be good to see the government providing more support until the industry is allowed to safely reopen, operating at full capacity and not limited by social-distancing measures. Even if we could see an extension of some of the measures they have already put in place that would be a big help.”
Were you one of the many people pushing flight cases through the street?
“Unfortunately not: the flight cases were on a first come/first serve basis, but it was a great statement to see people pushing them through the streets of Manchester – especially as it was a silent demonstration, and all you could hear was the rumbling of the wheels from the flight cases. Fair play to anyone who did push them that distance in 30ºC heat!”
When do you think we’ll see music venues open again in some capacity?
“It’s hard to say when music venues will be open again. There is talk of some of the smaller venues opening first, I guess to almost test the water. We are remaining positive and optimistic. One thing is for sure: the fans definitely want to go out and see shows again and the bands want to play!”
You can find out more about the #WeMakeEvents campaign on the PLASA (Professional Lighting & Sound Association) website.
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