Today marks 100 days since the UK government imposed lockdown, and the events industry as we know it came crashing to the ground. In fact the effects of the COVID-19 crisis were being felt months before lockdown, as the corporate sector in particular took a pause on event planning, uncertain about the impending viral doom spreading around the world.
We followed the guidance and closed our business; our private customers postponed indefinitely, and our corporate events cancelled and were refunded - since we are a solvent business this was possible for us, but for many small businesses the plethora of refunds has been devastating. We figured out which acts would work well on a virtual platform, and later added acts which could be enjoyed with social distancing. Stay-at-home birthday celebrations are now all the rage, so that's a nice string to our bow.
This time of year would usually be packed out with summer gigs and with Christmas party planning, but with no imminent plans to reinstate live events, this is all on hold and the future is bleak for the events and arts worlds. At a time when many have spent hours, days, weeks and months soaking up the beauty of the arts via platforms such as Netflix and radio, you would think that society would embrace the value of the arts. But the truth is that many businesses like ours have been completely excluded from government support:
- we work from a residence so we don't qualify for a Premises Grant
- we are a Ltd Company so we can only claim up to £500/month furlough, and this is dependent on us not operating the business at all during this time, so no fee generating work at all
- we do not qualify for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF), as we are suppliers
- we do not qualify for Universal Credit (UC), as we have savings
- we do not qualify for Jobseekers Allowance, as Ltd Co directors pay an alternative type of National Insurance Contributions
We were the first industry to be hit by COVID-19, and we will be the last to return. So we need your help to survive.
- #excludeduk is fighting our cause: please share, re-tweet and support this campaign in ANY WAY YOU CAN so that the government is forced to listen to us. We don't begrudge anyone the support they've received, we are simply asking for parity with them.
- Equity has emphasised that 'without financial support for workers and their workplaces, such efforts to develop return to work guidance will be meaningless'. They've paid out thousands in charitable grants to now-unemployed performers, so if you have means to contribute to their benevolent fund, you will literally be putting food in the mouths of artists.
- Support local arts businesses - ask musicians to record personalised birthday messages for your loved ones; if you're planning an event in 2021 and have means to pay your deposit now then please do that as it will keep that small business alive; consider giving the gift of art on special occasions - this could be a doorstep singer surprise or a caricaturist to join your family Zoom quiz; and share, share, share the work and brands of artists who have found themselves having to pivot into alternative work such as mask manufacturing or online teaching.
- Share this blog to help all the above causes, and to help Daze Entertainment to show up in search engines. We want to be here in 2021 if and when things return to some level of normality. In the meantime, we're here for all your virtual and distanced entertainment needs. Thanks for reading.