Live events workers gather to call for roadmap for return to work

Live events workers gather in line with social distancing requirements in Custom House Square in Belfast. Credit: Presseye

More than 500 people who work in the live events sector in Northern Ireland have gathered in Belfast’s Custom House Square to call for a roadmap to allow them to return to work.

According to the We Make Events NI team, 7,500 jobs are in jeopardy in Northern Ireland.

The team, made up of a host of people working in the industry, from sound engineers and lighting designers, to tour managers and riggers, are raising awareness about the extent of the impact.

According to the We Make Events NI team, pre-pandemic, music tourists in NI would spend around £90m per year – a vital boost to the economy. Credit: Presseye

All those taking part in Friday’s demonstration were socially distanced, wearing masks, and had pre-registered to allow for track and trace measures.

“The UK Government has offered a 33% wage top up in order to help navigate the next few months,” Events Producer Dino Cafolla said.

“Our industry has not worked since mid-March, so 33% of nothing is nothing.”

Hundreds of people whose livelihoods are at stake gathered in Custom House Square. Credit: Presseye

Mr Cafolla added: “We’re showing MPs that, not only are we the most qualified industry to keep people safe at events, but also telling them that we’d like to work together on a roadmap which allows our workforce to return.

“A blanket ban on all events has, in certain circumstances, resulted in illegal, unsafe gatherings by the general public.

“This only further hinders our industry’s financial recovery.”