July - Sept 2020
UK Live Events workers need support to survive lockdown.
We have supported the economy and the country.
We should not be ignored.
#LightItInRed 6th July
My first effort was a video showing how I made trashy gobos for a cheap 10W LED moving head from PCB transparency film - the gobo pattern being the logo from a company I enjoyed working for pre-lockdown - AudioWave.
#LightItShed 11th August
As a show of solidarity with other live events workers in the UK and beyond, I teamed up with a theatre colleague (while still maintaining social distancing) to light up his shed red, in lieu of #LightItRed and #LightItInRed - we used a solar-charged battery array and a pure sine wave inverter to power three 20W RGB LED floods and RGB LED battens.
This social media campaign had little to no mainstream media interest. Better luck next time?
#WeMakeEvents 30th September
I made a video showing me assembling one of BigCliveDotCom’s Gallium PCBs with flashing red LEDs, with a very angry rant that was whittled down over several weeks and run past my solicitor - mostly due to the scathing attack on a certain tory councillor.
As you’ll either know or have guessed, I’m involved in live events - theatre, concerts, bands, DJs, raves, conferences, etc. I also carry out services such as PAT testing and repairs for production companies and events individuals. Being in work meant I was also able to volunteer my services for charity and non-profit events.
When the COVID-19 lockdown hit, I became unemployed. I started making YouTube videos to fill the time, having always wanted to make YouTube videos - and if I wasn’t going to do it during lockdown, I probably never would. Now, although some lockdown restrictions have been lifted, we are not allowed to work.
Wedding discos are not allowed. Raves are not allowed. Bands are not allowed. Panto and theatre is not allowed. Karaoke is not allowed. Community events are not allowed. You get the idea.
The UK government has banned us from working - yet they are not providing ANY support. The previously announced £1.57bn fund doesn’t help the supply companies, workers or freelancers in any way whatsoever.
We need government support to survive the COVID-19 crisis. We need extended furlough. We need increased and guaranteed Universal Credit without unfair conditions (that we’ve seen too many times before) until we are back at 100% working capacity. We need support for businesses who still have rent and bills to pay but are banned from working. Our industry is responsible for about 100 billion in annual revenue according to the government themselves but they’ve not provided any meaningful support to us as of yet.
I’ve already seen people lose their livelihoods. I’ve already seen businesses close for good. This cannot be allowed to continue.
Worth remembering is that without live events being allowed, any associated businesses will also be affected. These co-dependent businesses include hotels, eateries, bars, clubs, travel, haulage, broadcasting, PR, merchandising, advertising, accounting, legal, etc.
Any subsidy package provided by the UK government would be a drop in the ocean compared to the amount we bring into the economy.
I’ve personally witnessed people publicly mouthing off about “loony leftie arty-farty millionaire luvvies pleading poverty”. Let me assure you, there’s more to events staff than “millionaire luvvies”, whatever they are. You’re talking about a workforce of sound and lighting crew, technicians, musicians, DJs, tour managers, actors, designers, recording engineers, broadcast engineers, video crew, spot-ops, portable appliance testers, camera ops, vision mixers, PA hire, lighting hire, stage hire, venue owners, equipment manufacturers, writers, directors, fly ops, stage crew, costume and props designers, makeup artists, painters, printers, electricians, joiners, labourers, publicists, photographers, web designers, bar staff, runners, boom ops, location managers, front of house staff, cleaners, porters, janitors, riggers, forklift operators, scaffolders, site crew, security, first aiders, teachers and instructors, chaperones, choreographers, food and drink vendors, accountants, agents, drivers, public relations, trucking and haulage, programmers, foley artists, storage, armorers, health and safety, marquee hire, toilet hire, catering, generator hire, and I’ve probably missed loads out.
To those who say the taxpayer cannot afford to subsidise the arts and live events - I say this: we cannot afford NOT TO subsidise the arts and live events. We’ve already paid £5 BILLION to tax-evading companies and for PPE that doesn’t exist and software that doesn’t work.
For those that say it’s not a real job or that it’s not viable - it was a real enough job when we were paying income tax, business rates, VAT and national insurance contributions. Our business is only not viable because we’ve been banned from working. We supported the economy and paid into the country.
For those that say there’s better things to spend the money - that will always be the case no matter what the subject is.
For those that ask why *INSERT Famous Musician* can’t put their hand in their pocket - it’s not their responsibility; it is down to the government as it’s them we’ve been paying tax to. Equally you could ask why doesn’t Britain’s richest farmer put his hand in his pocket every time farmers need handouts? Why don’t arms companies put their hand in their pocket every time we need to raise money for war vets?
The same idiots demanding that *INSERT Famous Musician* should be redistributing their wealth were the same ones claiming that “Commie Corbyn wants to redistribute your wealth!!!”
I’ve had a lot of abuse from people online when politely raising the issue. I’ve had farmers tell me it’s a disgusting waste of money - a few clicks of a mouse and you find these same farmers have demanded that the taxpayer give them subsidies to prop up their businesses. A random knuckle-dragger suggested that, and I’m quoting here, “all lefty theatre luvvies should be lined up and shot“. This same person was later whining about not being able to see her favourite comedian in a theatre. I’ve had the usual array of death threats from people too ashamed to upload a profile picture. It begs the question; If I’m a Luvvy, does that make them a Cunty?
We have a local conservative councillor, who on his website claims to have a degree in economics and claims to be - and this is a direct quote by the way - a “passionate advocate for local jobs and investment”; so because he’s very active on social media about various issues, I thought it was a good idea to ask him to show support for us.
He ignored me on Instagram. He blocked me on Twitter and Facebook. Various emails bounced back. I sent snail mail recorded and signed for. He or someone in his office has signed for it and has so far ignored that as well.
So for someone with a degree in economics and a passion for local jobs and investment, I find it strange that he doesn’t have the time to respond to a local’s concerns about their jobs or the industry as a whole. He has since been active on Twitter, having a go at an SNP councillor for not focusing on his constituents - sound familiar?
We’ve had difficulty in obtaining media coverage; if the tabloids are unable to print their scaremongering horseshit for just one day, it’s an “assault on freedom of speech” and social media goes apeshit on their behalf. Yet when hundreds of thousands are protesting peacefully about facing preventable destitution all you hear is crickets chirping (or, more likely - more lies about the EU, immigrants, foreigners, the SNP, Labour, Sturgeon, Corbyn, etc). So myself and others in my industry have been lighting up buildings, posting to social media and writing to our elected officials help to shine a light on our cause, so to speak.
Reid Park Band Stand
My lighting solutions literally don’t cost the earth - as evidenced by the solar-charged battery array and pure-sine wave inverter we used to power our lighting efforts in The Reid Park in Forfar.
Peter Reid Statue
We’ve had several messages of support, including “Wish you guys were getting more support”, “It’s not right that you’re being ignored” & “I wish I could have come down to see it - looks amazing - shame we can’t do socially-distanced events like this”.
Reid Park Arch
Finally, the entrance to the Reid Park.
UK Live Events workers have supported the economy & country.
We need meaningful support to survive lockdown.
More info: #WeMakeEvents.com
COVID-19 brings out the worst in people…
Tory Voter: “Commie Corbyn wants to redistribute your wealth and cost you your job!”
Also Tory Voter: “The Government shouldn’t be supporting jobs - we should redistribute the wealth of millionaires!”
One More Thing…
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