|This week, alongside George Howarth, Labour MP for Knowsley, I met with Andy Dockerty of Adlib, a represent of the live event sector to discuss the issues they have experienced during the pandemic. This has been a uniquely challenging time for the industry, with the unprecedented cancellation of live events for such a sustained period of time. That there is no real roadmap from the government to bringing live events back, other than ending lockdown restrictions, is deeply troubling.
We are home to many of the skilled personnel who work behind the scenes to put on events right across Europe, but as venues went dark from March 2020 they saw their often short-term employment opportunities disappear and their livelihoods put at risk. Larger employers in the sector have struggled to keep afloat without the concerts, events and tours that are their main source of income.
Andy, who spoke to us on Wednesday, has spent over 25 years building a business that provides technical services for events across the UK and Europe, but they are like others feeling the strain of the live event industry closing down for over a year. Talking to him highlighted that this summer has seen the usual festival and tours that make up a large part of their portfolio cancelled for the second year running, rightly as we battle the pandemic, but without adequate support from the government other than loans that they have to pay back with interest. Many companies are now paying back this interest with no income.
While Adlib will survive, many smaller live event companies have not and will not. Because of the range of skills in the sector they have struggled to impress their worth to the government, despite 2019 figures showing the live events industry was worth £42.3 billion to the economy, with the equivalent of 570,000 full time jobs supported across over 10,000 venues.
I’ve pledged my support to them in getting help for the sector from government, and to promote the great value they deliver to our economy. We know that tours across Europe have traditionally been reliant on British personnel, with artists from across the world beginning tours here because of the expertise of companies like Adlib. It’s vitally important that they get the help and support they need alongside real clarity on what the government will put in place to bring back the live event sector post-pandemic.