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What About Help for Live Music Events Support Services?

Andy Robertson

There has been much publicity and action to financially support the live events industry with various campaigns and announcements of financial assistance from the UK Government. Whilst all these offers of financial assistance are much welcome throughout the live music events sector spare a thought for the unseen people and companies that support the industry.  

The focus of financial help and campaigns has focused on performance artists and venues because they have been particularly hard hit by the en-masse cancellation of live music events since March 2020. The industry should not forget the thousands of professional people and smaller businesses without whom there will be no live music events. These are the essential cogs in the wheel of organising and running any live music performance. These forgotten service providers face an uncertain future and without financial support could go out of business before the end of 2020. Who are these unsung heroes that make events happen?

Equipment Suppliers. 
The multitude of small businesses that provide and rent out speaker stacks, amplifiers, lighting, rigging and generators currently have had no income since March 2020 and face a bleak future with no sizeable live music events taking place until well into 2021. Some may survive through consolidation with other equipment suppliers but it would not be surprising to see many suppliers fold in the next six months. As the music festival season restarts for the summer of 2021 where are event organisers going to source their equipment?

Light and Sound Engineers. 
In tandem with equipment suppliers to live music events the engineers responsible for setting up sound systems and running light shows have mostly been unable to work. Some can cross over to studio work but the engineers that specialise in live music events will likely be struggling financially. This may lead some to exit the industry to find work leading to a shortage of skilled and experienced engineers for 2021.

Stage Design and Construction.
For stage designers and construction services they are now limited to designing and planning for 2021 but with no current work opportunities many construction specialists have likely turned to other industries to survive.

Food and beverage vendors have mostly been industrious moving over to supplying the home delivery market and should be well placed to resume working at live music events in 2021.

Independent Event Organisers. 
It has been suggested that perhaps 20% of independent event organisers will go under, they don't have the support of larger corporations and have relied instead on crowdfunding exercises. Which survive and which don’t will be known as summer 2021 arrives. 

There is help and financial assistance in some respects for these small businesses but they don’t necessarily qualify for access to events industry specific assistance schemes. Live music events and festivals will no doubt resume in 2021 but the industry may find it difficult to secure equipment, engineers and other support services. The only shining light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is a new initiative campaign by PLASA #WeMakeEvents that has been created for the forgotten live events support industry. The campaign is scheduled to start on 11th August 2020, visit www.plasa.org/we-make-events for more information on this.

Using an events management software solution like FestivalPro can help make the planning and running of live music events more efficient with built in functionality to manage every aspect of a live music event. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The FestivalPro platform is easy to use and has all the features an event organiser needs to plan and control events for future dates.  

Andy Robertson
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