As of today, the Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community has an event hashtag all their own. Event organizers are asking venues and landmarks across the country to light up their buildings and marquees in red on Tuesday 22 September to raise awareness for an industry that remains dark.
Early response has been overwhelming. Organizations, grassroots groups and individuals are coming together to ask and assist with illuminating landmarks in red, bringing to light the many performers, creators, technical, logistical, and management support personnel who drive a $100 billion Canadian economic engine.
The selected hashtag #LightUpLive #EclaironsLesScenes draws attention to locations that have been primarily dark for over six months due to social distancing restrictions. Live event workers are encouraged to participate using social media, and participating venues and installations can be tracked on an interactive map at the event website (https://lightuplive.ca).
“This grassroots movement has seemed to catch fire,” says Morgan Myler, co-founder of the Live Event Community group, which formed in March as a result of the cancellation of events worldwide due to COVID-19. “We started with a resource guide for workers to access critical health, financial and training opportunities when COVID-19 hit.”
According to Statistics Canada , the arts, entertainment and recreation sector lost 152,000 of 486,100 jobs between June 2019 and June 2020, and 86% of businesses experienced a high level of impact due to the decrease in demand or cancellation of services . Those that are still employed have seen a 45% reduction in hours worked . The corporate and business events sector directly employs an additional 229,000 Canadians according to a 2017 Oxford Economics3 study.
“I’m always impressed to see how quickly the event industry can respond,” says co-founder Rob Duncan “but considering how quickly the work stopped, people are really looking to do something, however symbolic it may be.”
The Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community will run Tuesday 22 September from an hour after sundown, coast to coast. Follow along at https://lightuplive.ca. Live event workers looking for resources can visit https://liveeventcommunity.org