The local live events and entertainment industry #LightSAred movement lights up iconic parts of Cape Town to gain the attention of the government during the lockdown. Picture: Esa Alexander
The local live events and entertainment industry #LightSAred movement lights up iconic parts of Cape Town to gain the attention of the government during the lockdown. Picture: Esa Alexander

A blanket ban on all events since March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the technical production and live events industry in tatters. The industry, which includes freelancers, venues, theatres, event equipment hire companies, production companies and other businesses, is calling for the government and financial institutions to extend financial relief to those who earn a living in the sector until it is permitted to resume work.

On Wednesday August 5 various parts of the country will be lit up in red from 6pm to 8pm to highlight the crippling effect the lockdown has had on people in the industry after five months of no work or income.

The initiative is calling for the government to provide financial relief to those working in the industry and to engage with elected leaders of the Southern African Communications Industries Association and the SA Events Council and to provide a platform for their voices to be heard. It is also demanding that the government recognise and support the nonprofit organisations that are trying to sustain destitute members of the technical production and live events industry.

The #LightSAred movement is calling on members of the public to take a picture of any building in their area that is lit up and to share the photos on their social media accounts using #LightSAred, to light up their homes in red, or to find a treasured ticket stub, their favourite party dress concert or festival memorabilia and light it in red.

Similar initiatives have successfully taken place across the world where buildings, monuments, landmarks, structures and empty theatres have been illuminated in red to highlight the enormous challenges facing the live events, music and performing arts sectors. In the UK more than 670 buildings were lit up in red while in Germany 9,000 sites were lit up.

“The local events industry is dying,” says campaign spokesperson Sharif Baker, chair of the Technical Production & Services Association. “We are aboard a sinking ship, headed for the rocks, and we are being ignored. Help us light the warning beacon and #LightSAred to remind the government and private industry just how much is at stake.”

The big take-out: The #LightSAred campaign plans to call attention to the dire plight of the live events and technical production industry as a result of the ban on live events.

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