Cancelled Glastonbury Festival is tip of the iceberg for affected live events industry

Today marks the ‘what would have been’ the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival, as it joins hundreds of other live events cancelled due to COVID-19.

As the first to shut, and the last to reopen, the entire live events industry has been wiped out for the most part of the year, placing a huge amount of strain on small businesses and freelancers whose professions have been brought to a sudden halt.

The UK creative sector is now at risk of permanent collapse unless immediate financial aid is made available by the government. Despite the job retention scheme, 119,000 permanent workers will be made redundant by the end of the year and an estimated 287,000 freelance roles will also be terminated.

Peter Heath, Managing Director of PLASA, comments: “The events industry has been devastated by the impact of COVID-19, and unlike other industries, there is no set date for when it may revive. Worth £100bn to the national economy, the sector is the beating heart of UK culture – yet people just don’t realise its vast scale. There are multiple layers of people involved behind the scenes; those who set up the audio, lighting, video and infrastructure for the festival, and a huge supply chain that exists behind, including suppliers and manufacturers of the equipment used, the list goes on.”

Peter concludes: “The complete loss of the festival season has stripped people of more than half their yearly income. Unless immediate action is taken, we can expect a string of businesses which operate in sound, lighting, and events equipment to collapse before spring next year when public confidence, to be in a venue of such large scale, is potentially restored. We are now calling on the government to support the creative industry ecosystem and provide capital grants, not loans, for the companies, and extend the furlough and self-employed scheme to protect the livelihoods of the events industries highly skilled workforce.”

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