Devastating impact of covid shutdown on the hidden army of workers at London's famous music venues

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The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact on the hidden army of technical workers at London's famous music venues.

From lighting and sound engineers to rigging and catering, most are self employed and many have not worked since March.

With no clear end in sight to the covid pandemic there are stark warnings the whole supply chain could collapse and put an end to big live events.

We did a recent survey of our members and were saying in July and August they were going to be losing between 25% and 30% of their staff. And the closer you get to October that number of 30% turns into 80%.

Peter Heath, Professional Lighting and Sound Association

Thousands of jobs would be lost nationwide and with work drying up many would have to switch careers.

Every year 1.7 million people watch around 400 performances at London's Royal Albert Hall. Each show needs hundreds of staff and freelancers working behind the scenes.

Empty seats at the Royal Albert Hall in lockdown

The Royal Albert Hall says without suppliers there will be no more big concerts, award ceremonies or conferences.

We just couldn't do it. With lighting there are four of us on the team and we could not put on the productions we do day after day with teams of sometimes up to 100 people we have working on events.

Drew Bristow, lighting supervisor at the Royal Albert Hall

It's a view shared by the stars of the shows, including singer Leona Lewis.

None of this would be possible without the amazing people working behind the scenes and on the stage to put these shows together and piece everything together to bring these shows together. From amazing tour managers to technicians.

Leona Lewis, singer

The government has announced a £1.57 billion arts bailout but critics say it won't save the live arts industry.

The rescue package the government announced on July 5 was to support venues and heritage venues. It wasn't to support the freelancers and suppliers who make what we do possible.

Louise Halliday, Royal Albert Hall

For five months the seats have been empty and with the furlough scheme ending in October thousands face losing their jobs and live events may never recover.