£30bn industry calls for more clarity to protect hard-hit sector

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s COVID Winter Plan announced a new, tougher, three-tier system, which is set to come into force when the current lockdown in England ends on December 2nd. As part of this, it was announced that elite sporting events can take place with fans, providing crowd numbers are limited.

However, with a focus purely on the re-opening of the sporting fixtures, Yorkshire’s creative sector is calling on the Government to provide greater clarity on what this could mean for the live events industry in December, and what the implications are for gigs and productions.

The UK’s leading live events production destination, Production Park, are calling on the Government to clarify its position and support the sector and its workforce.

In recent years, the organisations have welcomed Coldplay, Hugh Jackman and Little Mix, who made use of the arena-sized on-site rehearsal facilities, whilst Park tenants, Brilliant Stages, has built sets for Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Take That.

Under Mr Johnson’ announcement, the Government revealed spectator sports can resume with socially distanced capacity limits of 1,000 fans for indoor venues and 4,000 or 2,000 for outdoors venues (across tiers 1 and 2 respectively), with no spectators allowed in tier 3 regions.

Jim Farmery, Development Director at XPLOR, Production Park’s research & innovation centre, comments: “We’re all anxiously waiting for greater clarity on what implications the new tiering system will have for our sector, and which tier we might find ourselves in here in Yorkshire.

“The UK’s live events industry is worth an estimated £30bn to the nation’s economy a year and supports an estimated half a million jobs, so ahead of the new lockdown measures on the 2nd, we’re calling on the Government to provide support, reassurance and clear guidance for what this could mean for the hundreds of businesses working in the sector.

“We’re certainly a nation of sport-lovers, so it’s not surprising that the televised announcement focused on getting fans back into stadiums. However, other live events such as the theatre, gigs, festivals and pantomimes are just as important, and are undoubtedly an intrinsic part of the nation’s cultural identity.

“A good deal of people in our industry are finding it very tough at the moment and a tier 3 venue closure will undoubtedly have a major impact on the live events industry and creative sector. The businesses we’ve spoken to this week are certainly confused as to why people will be allowed to do their Christmas shopping at the busiest time of the year, yet they won’t be able to take their family to a Christmas concert or pantomime in a really controlled Covid-safe and socially distanced environment.

“As many gigs and productions have been mostly on hold since March, the industry urgently needs a clear strategy from the government for how we can get back to putting on live events and shows for the nation in 2021.”

For more information, please visit https://www.productionpark.co.uk/