Shining the red alert on the events industry

September 30, 2020

On Wednesday 30th September as darkness falls, venues from over 25 cities across the world will light up red in support of the thousands who work in an industry hit hard by lockdowns and mass gathering limits.

Dubbed the #WeMakeEvents movement, the global wave of red will start in New Zealand with events professionals lighting up their spaces or symbols of their businesses. The aim is to represent the entire value chain of events, from the technical talent, caterers, marquee companies, infrastructure, drivers to everyone in between.

The purpose is more than just coming together to send a powerful message of support; it shows the world that the industry is in the red zone and at risk of disappearing.

Across the Waikato, a collective of events professionals will be uniting to light up their spaces in red as an act of localised solidarity. Mystery Creek Events Centre, X-Site Event Hire and Riverlea Theatre will all be lit up with the help of SBI Productions, who are also lighting their own site.

“As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone. The red light has been put on events across the world and behind every event is a huge supply chain of businesses that have been equally devastated by the effects of Covid-19. We don’t want to lose more than we already have which is why we’ll be going red tomorrow,” says CEO of the New Zealand National Fieldays Society, Peter Nation.

Earlier in the year, the Society, organisers of Fieldays and owners of Mystery Creek Events Centre, moved the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event completely online in order to save their business. While over 11 major events, that would have drawn in hundreds of thousands of visitors and supported hundreds of businesses, were all cancelled at Mystery Creek.

For Riverlea Theatre, a thriving performing arts community, the closure of the theatre meant the loss of six shows and 50 per cent of the activity for the year. This directly impacted 3890 audience members, cast, crew and technical team members. Additionally, the performing arts school wasn’t able to run, so a full term of classes was missed, which affected the 117 school age students involved.

“This had a significant impact on the sense of belonging and connection the shows bring for cast and audience members, while the performing arts school students have had to put their learning programme on hold. They really look forward to being part of it each year and with the closure of the venue for months, it was like our community lifeblood was taken away,” says Jane Norridge, Theatre Manager.

For Hamish Lamb, manager of X-Site Event Hire, one of New Zealand’s largest temporary structure suppliers to major events throughout the country, the future feels bleak.

“We’ve had more than 30 major events that we supply, cancel or postpone, and comparing April to September 2019 with this year, we’re down 83 per cent on turnover. Staff numbers have been cut by 60 per cent.

“We, at X-Site are lighting up on Wednesday in support of those thousands of businesses, events and people that have been affected by the restrictions and recognising the devastation to the industry through this pandemic. We’re standing together with our colleagues to unite as one.”
Follow the movement here: https://www.facebook.com/WeMakeEventsNZ/

From 8pm to 11pm across New Zealand, followed by Australia, and then on around the world, event professionals around the world will collectively STAND AS ONE. Kiwi’s will be passing the baton across the time zones initiating creative expressions that will see:

• #LightItInRed buildings – venues and structures illuminated red and projected with the signature expression of Red Alert and We Make Events.

• Shine a Light – strategically placed shafts of white light beamed up into the night sky, each one signifying a number of potential job losses.

• Inside Out – unique images of what would have been taking place inside a venue, projected onto the outside of the empty venues, reminding the press and the public of what they are missing.

• Creative & Art installations – illustrating the numbers of event professionals either already out of work or expecting to be soon.