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Final plea for support for events industry after companies see record losses

PUBLISHED: 13:06 01 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:07 01 October 2020

WeMakeEvents is a campaign to highlight the plight of the events industry. Suffolk landmarks were lit up red last night to highlight the campaign. Picture: GREEN SPARK

WeMakeEvents is a campaign to highlight the plight of the events industry. Suffolk landmarks were lit up red last night to highlight the campaign. Picture: GREEN SPARK

Archant

Events companies across Suffolk have set out the harsh reality of the coronavirus outbreak after listing record losses.

Local events businesses have seen record losses during the coronavirus outbreak - Suffolk County Council's offices lit up in red to support the WeMakeEvents campaign Picture: GREEN SPARKLocal events businesses have seen record losses during the coronavirus outbreak - Suffolk County Council's offices lit up in red to support the WeMakeEvents campaign Picture: GREEN SPARK

A number of long lasting businesses are hanging by a thread after recording 95% drops in turnover and are now calling on the government to make provisions for the events industry to return to work in a safe manner, having been stopped since the March lockdown.

As part of the WeMakeEvents Global Day of Action, a campaign to raise awareness to the government regarding the plight of the events industry, buildings all over Suffolk including BT Adastral Park, Grafton House and Endeavour House, were lit up with red light.

The project to colour the famous buildings was planned by Suffolk companies Green Spark, Motion Mapping and freelancer James Cook.

Adam Clark, managing director of Green Spark, said: “Large business events are currently not allowed and there is no timeframe for when this may change.

Ipswich Borough Council's offices lit up to highlight the WeMakeEvents campaign Picture: GREEN SPARKIpswich Borough Council's offices lit up to highlight the WeMakeEvents campaign Picture: GREEN SPARK

“This means that 100% of our traditional events work is still not possible.

“The campaign is about asking the government for some practical assistance to help the industry recover when it is able to restart.

“In the meantime it needs support so that businesses can in some way stay open and protect their skilled workforce.”

Losses have been highlighted by 16 companies in Suffolk in a statement released on the WeMakeEvents day of action.

Folk East Production, the company behind the FolkEast festival has reported a 95% drop in turnover for 2020.

Over £200,000 would have been directly injected into Suffolk economy during the three-day festival.

AV Unit, audio visual specialists who have been based in Ipswich for 25 years, suffered a 81% drop in revenue, and Anglia Coastal Marquees, based in Ufford, has recorded a turnover of 5% when compared with 2019.

These are just a snapshot of the issues felt by companies across the county.

James Cook is a Sound Designer and AV Engineer and helped create the large scale projections.

He said: “Having lost four months of work literally overnight in March, myself and the entire freelance pool of Theatre Sound Designers, Event Technicians and Engineers have been out of work with no sign of any real support from the government. Many local businesses are struggling and I know of many people in the theatre industry that have already been made redundant, too.”

Stuart Harris from Motion Mapping said: “We wanted to make a big visual statement and get the message across.

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“The events industry includes hundreds of different types of specialist, skilled jobs.

“The UK leads the world in event production and we don’t want all this expertise to be lost if people are forced to leave the industry.”

Other businesses effected by the coronavirus lockdown:

• Team Audio Ltd - Audio and Communications Specialist based at Bentwaters Park saw over 90% drop in turnover.

• Synergy Audio Ltd - Audio equipment rental specialists, also at Bentwaters Park, experienced 83% drop in business following event cancellations.

• Hungarian Hall - A wedding venue in Pettistree has only held two of 30 events planned in 2020.

• Glemham Hall - Trading in Suffolk since 2007 with 100 events a year on average. Only six events were held in 2020. 67% drop in income and 70% of staff currently on furlough.

• The Smokehouse - Music venue in Ipswich has seen 100% of gigs cancelled since March with 100% drop in revenue from bookings and 15 freelance workers jobs cancelled.

• Sound City Ipswich - 25 national artists cancelled or postponed and 40 freelance roles cancelled since March.

• Neon Street - Had 71% of the year booked in January collapsed to 0% in March. Tours booking January – April 2021 are now being postponed further.

• Gofer Ltd - Specialist supplier of generators and power distribution systems trading since 1998 in Ipswich. They currently have seven out of eight full time staff on furlough, once the scheme ends, staff will be on reduced hours as the Job Support Scheme does apply to the Live Events Sector.

• Britten Pears Arts - Based at Snape Maltings. Have applied to Arts Council England for emergency funding to see them through to the end of the year.

• My Big Fat Wedding Disco - Trading for nine years, turnover down 85%. Supplied 134 weddings in 2019, only six weddings since March. All staff currently furloughed.

• 15-52 Lighting - Based in Stowmarket and have been trading for 10 years. Turnover down 93% since March 2020.

• Children’s Theatre Company - Studios just reopening after being closed since March. Both summer productions were cancelled and their Christmas 2020 show postponed until 2021.


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