A group of Manchester-based events companies and freelancers will today, 11 August, take to the streets of the city to conduct a socially-distanced protest march as part of the #WeMakeEvents ‘Red Alert’ campaign.

The demonstration will coincide with activity on London’s Southbank, where venues including the Royal Festival Hall are to be illuminated with red lights.

The aim of the Manchester march, which is backed by local acts including New Order, Doves and Blossoms, is to highlight the critical condition of the live events industry across the UK and that 114,000 jobs in the music sector alone could be lost if swift Government action is not taken.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers Lucy Powell MP said she supports the march: “In Manchester we have one of the largest, flourishing events and festivals scenes in the UK. We have one of the largest event spaces, one of the most used indoor arenas in Europe and one of the largest municipal parks in the UK. Presently, they lay dormant, with the consequence being many freelancers and event staff have been left penniless since March, with no hope or guidance.”

Sacha Lord, Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, said, “Freelancers and the self-employed are the forgotten workforce during Covid. Where other businesses have had access to Government support, those who work for themselves have been left behind. I personally know of many DJs, photographers, sound engineers and artists who were at the top of their industries pre-Covid and who have now been forced to give up their passions and who are now working in retail or construction just to make ends meet.”