The Stadium of Light and Beacon of Light will join landmarks across the North East and the globe by shining red in support of the global “We Make Events” Day of Action.
A strategically placed pillar of white light will be beamed into the night sky from the home of Sunderland AFC and both buildings will also feature projected images of what would have been taking place this year, sending a stark reminder of what we are missing.
The #WeMakeEvents campaign has been created to highlight how the global live events industry urgently needs support and to get back to work, with more than 30 million people estimated to be working in events across 25 countries.
Wearside matchdays simply haven’t been the same without the red and white army, while away from football, the Stadium of Light has also played host to some of the biggest names in music over the years, including Take That, Foo Fighters and the Spice Girls, with regular events, conferences and meetings also taking place.
The Foundation of Light’s Beacon, which opened its doors two years ago as a state-of-the-art sports, education and events facility, has played a central role in the community throughout the pandemic, but has also seen a wide range of sporting events, large scale dinners, exhibitions and other events put on hold until next year.
SAFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Jim Rodwell, said: “Although the impact of playing behind closed doors has been well-documented, the toll being taken by the pandemic, and the current measures in place, are infinity more far-reaching. Outside of our home fixtures, the Stadium of Light has essentially remained in a state of locked down, meaning our events, hospitality and conferencing operations lay dormant.
“The Foundation and Beacon, and the fantastic work they do, is also being held back by the current climate, and the #WeMakeEvents campaign is a powerful reminder of the immense role our sectors play within communities across the North East and around the world.”
Lesley Spuhler OBE, Chief Executive at the Foundation of Light said, “Throughout the pandemic and the lockdown, as a charity we have continued to work tirelessly to help those most in need in our communities to stay physically and mentally healthy, and connected.
“Our activities in the Beacon have been restricted and although sport has returned, the fantastic events we had planned this year have been put on hold. This is a critical income stream, as all money raised by commercial activities in the Beacon goes on to support Foundation of Light outreach activities across the North East.
“We are pleased to lend our support to the #WeMakeEvents campaign to show the wider societal impact the events industry has on our communities.”
In the UK alone, the DCMS’ figures state the Cultural Sector’s value exceeds £100 billion and was the fastest growing sector in 2017 and in 2018, and the outdoor events industry attracted a staggering 141.5 million visitors.
Despite this, the sector does not receive arts grants, which means that the recent £1.57 billion bailout is not reaching the highly skilled people, manufacturers or the huge supply chain of businesses that enable the sector to operate.
When this supply chain is taken into account, the number of people affected nears one million and threatens to destroy all of their livelihoods, as well as the future of live events in general.
#WeMakeEvents is now calling on Governments worldwide to extend significant financial support for the people and companies in the events sector supply chain until they can viably return to work.
At 8pm local time on 30 September, event professionals from thousands of cities across more than 25 countries will come together to stand as one for the Global Day of Action.
The ‘baton’ will be passed across different time zones and feature creative activities, which include:
Shine a Light – strategically placed shafts of white light will be beamed into the night sky, with each one signifying potential job losses.
#LightItInRed – venues and structures will be illuminated red with the #WeMakeEvents signature expression of Red Alert.
Inside Out – images of what would have been taking place inside a venue will now be projected onto the outside of empty venues, reminding us what we are missing and what may never return.