I am very fortunate to work in the Sound and Lighting industry, and although we don't directly deal with events and rental, we deal with people that do. This week, during a couple of conversations it was great to hear about the excitement of trucks being loaded with all manner of sound, lighting, LED video, cables and all sorts of kit! Crews were pushing flight cases about, kit was on final test, and there was a positive buzz in the conversations I huge amount, the majority of the kit and the crew were all headed up the M1 to Belfast where gigs are back.
This is the line up for custom House Square in Belfast over the next couple of weeks, and it's absolutely insane! From Nile Rodgers to Scooter....WOW!
In the Republic we still have restrictions around live events, outdoor entertainment and music, but less then 200km and 2 hours from Djbox thousands of people, if not tens of thousands, are getting ready for these events. It's fantastic to see our colleagues in the rental and events industries getting back to work, and watching trucks hit the road, but it's frustrating to think they are all going to effectively work in the UK for these events and the money spent at them will mainly stay in the UK.
- What's the loss to our economy?
- How many local crew lose out on work here?
- How many ancillary services lose out?
For how long more will live events companies in Ireland be left in the dark? For how long more will they be pleading for a roadmap to re-open? With vaccines rolling out across the country, surely after 15 months it is time to give a whole industry something to feel positive about. When you attend a concert or a gig there are more people behind the scenes making it happen than a lot of people realise. People in offices arranging health and safety, insurances and travel arrangements, people in trucks getting the gear to the venues, people with the kit putting it together riggers, technicians, programmers and stage crew, people in the venue keeping people safe, cleaning, feeding and serving people, collecting tickets and the performers and entertainers you want to see....... and on it goes. Live entertainment is not just a stage, a theatre or a nightclub, it's a whole industry. It's an industry that was the first to close in March, and has always accepted they'd be the last to return, and now they want to know when that will be, and that is surely not unreasonable.
If this industry does not manage to return in a meaningful way very soon, the cost will be a lot more than financial. People without work 15 months, people leaving the industry for other sectors, or leaving the country. Not everyone can afford to wait, can we as a country afford to lose these people and this industry? I say no, no we cannot........ a roadmap is needed, it's deserved, and it's wanted urgently.