Thousands of music industry workers are expected to march through Manchester city centre tomorrow to throw support behind the #WeMakeEvents campaign.
The campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the crisis facing the touring, festival and events sector, which is facing 114,000 job losses.
The protest will pass some of the city’s most iconic venues, many of which remain shuttered.
Those taking part will include truck drivers, producers, engineers, tour managers, security staff and cleaners, as well as the raft of freelancers and self-employed people left penniless since March.
They will push a fleet of flight cases – a common sight at festivals and concerts – through the streets from Manchester Academy.
It’s hoped the march will act as a rallying cry for more government support for the industry, which has been mostly halted since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
It’s estimated around 50% of companies do not have enough capital to survive the next four months.
Manchester will be the only city to host such a march, with support from huge names in the local music industry.
The likes of New Order, Courteeners, Blossoms, Paul Heaton, Doves, and Mani from the Stone Roses have all lent their voices to the collective battle cry.
The march will set off from Manchester Academy at midday on Tuesday August 11, and will finish at St Peter’s Square.
Organisers have also made the event Covid-secure, with strict social distancing and hygiene procedures in place.
Blossoms said: “Our industry is in need of urgent action. Due to the Covid-19 crisis the whole music and live events sector has been devastated.
“So many skilled people are at risk of being lost to the whole industry if government support doesn’t come soon.
“Millions of talented people, including many people close to us, need help now.”
Sacha Lord, night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said: “Freelancers and the self-employed are the forgotten workforce during Covid.
“Where other businesses have had access to Government support, those who work for themselves have been left behind. I personally know of many DJs, photographers, sound engineers and artists who were at the top of their industries pre-Covid and who have now been forced to give up their passions and who are now working in retail or construction just to make ends meet.”
Liam Fray, speaking on behalf of Courteeners, said: “There are so many highly skilled people that have given their entire lives to the live sector, talented people essential to the whole infrastructure of the industry who now, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, face financial disaster.
“The time is now for the government to take action or we risk losing these people forever.”
Labour’s shadow minister for business and consumers Lucy Powell MP said: “For many weeks, I have been calling on the Government to provide targeted support to the hospitality sector to save jobs and livelihoods.
“Sadly, there is a whole industry that they have simply ignored the calls of help from.
“In Manchester, we have one of the largest, flourishing events and festivals scenes in the UK. We have one of the largest event spaces, one of the most used indoor arenas in Europe and one of the largest municipal parks in the UK.
“Presently, they lay dormant, with the consequence being many freelancers and event staff left penniless since March, with no hope or guidance.
“I’m supporting this Tuesday’s march, to highlight the plight of the events industry and supply chain, to not only raise awareness of this lost industry, but again to call on the Government to recognise this sector.”
Those who wish to take part in the march will have to pre-register for track and trace here.