How does that song go? I came in like a wrecking ball…. BOOM! That’s how 2020 hit us. We were so numb from the madness that NASA was like, ‘Hey, look at these 3 UFO’s, we don’t know what they are!’ We were like, ‘did anyone have UFO’s on their 2020 bingo card?’

It’s got to the point now where we don’t know when and if the world will ever look the same again. I’ve watched my dear friend’s heart get crushed, closing the door to her pub for the last time. All through lockdown the brewery were still demanding rent. Many events and independents, have huge outlays so the buffer is small, 2020 has just blown through everyone’s cashflow.

Over 3 million people have fallen through the gap of getting no or very little support through this. I myself know this first hand being self employed. The arts/music industry has been truly let down by our Government. “UK could become ‘cultural wasteland’ due to coronavirus, say leading artists” Quote taken from The Guardian

Bristol Showing how they feel through art.

I am worried for my friends who work in this industry. It’s not for the money, it’s for the love of it. The UK has the most amazing art culture and nearly every day in 2020, I have heard of something else we have lost. I know many dancers, performers, club owners, photographers who have watched every event cancelled. This is really far reaching, we are already worrying if events next year will be affected too. Can you imagine what the world will look like?

We have all been affected to some degree by this virus, some have lost loved ones, some their jobs, their homes etc. Then those events which help get us through things have been wiped from our lives. I know many who were doing ok, are now using food banks to get through. I feel very let down by our govemment and I could write the most depressing write up about every failing of theirs, but it would end up being a book! So I want to send everyone out there struggling the BIGGEST hug. I have never been so stressed in my life before, I don’t know how I will make it through. I know though that I’m not alone, that we are all struggling together.

I know that I am mega proud of what the UK has to offer. They’re not just dance events, they are huge families, who through this terrible time have showed they care. Many of the forums for festivals have been full of love, people sending little gifts to each other. I was sent one the other day, you know what, that made my day, thank you. We really care about each other, and we all know how hard people have been hit by 2020.

You may have seen the hashtag #WeMakeEvents, or one of the marches. It’s part of the ‘Red Alert’ movement, trying to raise awareness about the threat of job losses in the arts sector. We are lucky in the UK to have such a wonderfully rich art movement with the likes of festivals and plays in the West End. More than 300 venues including London’s National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall turned their lights red on the 11th August for the Red Alert campaign.

Producers, engineers, tour managers, security staff, truck drivers and cleaners also marched past some of Manchester’s closed venues. Virtually all UK venues have been closed for five months, how many will be able to open their doors again?

Organisers of the protests say around a million people work in the events sector in the UK, many of whom are freelancers and they are at risk of losing their livelihoods without additional government support. After a lot of noise the government announced a £1.57bn support package aimed at protecting theatres, galleries and museums. This feels like a drop in the ocean when this sector contributes almost £13 million to the UK economy EVERY HOUR. New government figures show the country’s successful creative industries contributed £111.7 billion to the UK in 2018, equivalent to £306 million every day.

Many were not eligible for the furlough scheme and support for self-employed people. Those who were will be seeing an end to the help soon. Even though these are ending, there isn’t even any lifelines for when things fully open back up. We have all been living in limbo, hoping events will make it through to the next year.

“Without major, immediate support from government, the entire live events sector supply chain is at risk of collapse,” said the members of The Cure in a statement.

The aim of the Red Alert is to try and get the financial support extended, and also raise awareness for what is happening. Can you imagine if we lost not only our little village pub, but our favourite festivals, nightclubs, museums, art galleries….the list is endless. It’s countless people’s lives, right the way up from the cleaners to the headlining act. Every band or singer you have gone to see, has 100’s of people making it possible. All these people are fighting to keep a roof over their heads and food in the fridge. Dealing with the panic, when they will be able to work again?

I know I for one I’m hugely proud of the UK music and arts sector. I want to see it come to life with new passion and power next year. Not limp it’s way through.

The above video popped into my newsfeed, I’m in tears. This is far reaching and truly devastating.

Not just artists, singers and dancers on the stage but everyone. This is peoples lives. I was given a food bank number by UC, they knew we were falling through the gap of getting help. I don’t just miss my friends and family but the brightness and love of the events I had planned for this year.

Art is love.

What is our world without art? By art, I mean everything from a painting to a rap song. Our lives are full of art, I don’t want to see it lost. Lets try to use this gap, this pause in the music, to reflect and grow.

What can you do to help? Make your voice heard, BANG THE DRUM FOR THE ARTS, FOR OUR MUSIC, FOR US ALL.

What’s helped us all get through this time has been following some of the online events, put on by festivals, artists and dj’s. They have done it for the love of it, for wanting the music to still play.

BIG LOVE TO EVERYONE. Keep going, we will get through this year and on the other side there will be an explosion of love music and dance!

Support, share, show you care – Alice x

Facts from here – Gov.com

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