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Isle of Wight event supplier Spyder UK joined over 700 venues, performance spaces and supplier warehouses across the UK in illuminating the building red as part of the national #LightItRed campaign last night (Tuesday).

It was the first industry to close and will be the last to reopen. Having seen no work for the past 5 months, and now with little likelihood of restarting until Spring 2021, the entire live events sector supply chain is at risk of collapse without major immediate support from the Government.

St Helens-based supplier Spyder UK is amongst those companies affected. The company supplies staging, rigging and production services to many of the larger events and festivals on the Island, alongside their work on festivals, international shows and national tours including Coldplay and Little Mix.

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Managing Director, Andy Squibb, has said:

“We’ve seen what was set to be our busiest trading year yet completely evaporate in just a matter of days. Our last show was at Wembley Arena back in early March, just a day or so before every venue in the country closed its doors.

“We’re already seeing mass redundancies in companies we work for and with, as employers simply don’t have the liquidity to carry employees without some continued support, especially with no timeline for restarting events from the government, and restrictions still in place preventing most events and gatherings.

“As the country has slowly returned to work, so the financial support measures from the government have been scaled down accordingly; however as the furlough scheme winds down, and the final grants are paid to the self-employed, the temporary jobs our furloughed staff and freelancers took up in supermarkets are also coming to an end. Promoters and event organisers are unable to commit to anything even for next year, themselves facing bigger risks than ever for staging events.

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“Events take months, not days or weeks to organise and plan; even if they could restart tomorrow, the stark reality is that the touring music industry is at a standstill and will take months (if not years) to fully restart.”

The industry is calling for continued support from the government, in the form of grants to businesses to help them weather overheads through to next year. Industry groups are also pushing to keep support to the skilled pool of workers, both through a continued industry-specific furlough scheme for the employed and an extension of the self-employed scheme for the freelance workforce.

Andy continues:

“We have an amazing team of 40-50 employees and freelancers who work for us, peaking during the summer season. The thought of losing them and their skills after years of investing in training and development is terrifying.

“This isn’t just about handouts for companies, but about protecting the amazing skills that make the UK’s event industry professionals some of the most sought-after people in the world, whilst making sure that supply/service companies are still there.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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