As National Awareness Week for the Live Entertainment & Event Industry enters its last two days, the EPIC Working Group has released “An Open Letter from the Live Events and Entertainment Sector” and a new video highlighting #ThisIsWhoWeAre, voiced by Stephen James Smith and featuring video from various events in Ireland.
“The unprecedented and ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been a great disaster for Ireland’s entertainment and hospitality sectors as the 2007/2008 banking crisis was to its construction and financial services industries,” the letter shared today on social media begins.
The letter states that “the non-funded Events Sector accounts for 90% of the five million tickets sold in Ireland each year, and directly contributes €3.5 billion to the national economy. It is estimated that for every euro spent on a ticket, an additional €6 is spent in the wider tourist economy.”
Since the complete and total shut down of the sector on March 12, 2020 the sector has been “totally ignored and received virtually no government aid” and “The workers at all levels of this vital sector have no prospects of earning a living in the foreseeable future.”
The letter calls for an immediate reinstatement of the EWSS and PUP payment at €350 per week, grant funding proportionate to what has been allocated to the Arts Council in 2020, and a voice on the task force that was announced on 10 September by Minister Catherine Martin.
The letter focuses in on the importance of the sector and all that could be lost if support is not received, and soon: “We are highly skilled professionals, we are essential businesses and services, we are musicians and artists, carpenters and creators, we are stage hands, technicians and experts, we are sound, lights and visuals, we are tears, laughter and gasps of excitement. We are the Christmas panto, we are concerts, we are festivals, we are food fairs, we are parades, we are conferences, we are exhibitions, we are theatres, we are dance, we are national celebrations & state visits. We are the best nights of your lives.”
On Episode 22 of Stage Door Live, Liam Fitzgerald, Chair of AIST (Association of Irish Stage Technicians), asserted that the sector is already losing many of its SMEs and highly skilled workers, “Several of the SMEs have failed at this stage. We have seen friends and colleagues leave the industry. We have seen people start to get disenfranchised and look for other alternatives.” He also highlighted, “We are now at the point where the support from the banks is running out. People managed to scrape by on the PUP and TWSS payments, that they got previously, now we are at the point where those are being reduced. It simply is impossible to make ends-meet.“
The letter ends to the point, “We need government support for our industry and we need it immediately.“
EPIC calls on support from the public by contacting your TDs via a simple form which takes 30 seconds to fill out via uplift.ie, that can be found here.