On 5 August 2020, the South African technical production and live events industry, under the LightSARed movement, will light various parts of South Africa red, to highlight the crippling implications the lockdown has had on the industry after five months of no work or income. Join us on 05 August as we #LightSAred from 18:00 – 20:00.
Do you remember what it was like to stand in a crowd and dance? Do you remember being able to go to the theatre to catch a show, or enjoy an event with your colleagues? Do you remember what it was like to jive at a night club, catch your favourite DJ’s set, or listen to a live band at your local jol? Do you remember what it was like to celebrate your humanity with thousands of other humans?
It seems like a lifetime ago, right? Unfortunately, for thousands in the events industry, it’s more than five paychecks ago. Due to the restrictions on public gatherings during the Covid-19 Pandemic, the events industry is in a state of emergency that is as life-threatening as the current pandemic!
We are only a small nation, hanging out on the tip of Africa, but there are a few things that make South Africans unique. Most notably, our ability to sing and dance in the face of tragedy, struggle and adversity defines us as a nation. When the HIV/AIDS pandemic threatened to wipe out millions, we gathered under the banner of Nelson Mandela’s prison number at the 46664 Concerts to make our voices heard. When the FIFA World Cup finally came to our continent, we showed the world what it means to celebrate life. When our beloved Madiba passed on, we raised our voices in song, together, and celebrated his legacy. Every defining moment in our history has been marked by our ability to gather, embrace, sing and dance – and we are about to turn off the lights, cut the sound and strike the stage forever.
Who are we?
When you go to a festival, concert, sports game, or prayer gathering, it is very easy to forget all that goes into making those few moments of your life safe and memorable. There is an army of hard-working, dedicated people who have spent months planning every detail. Before you swipe your ticket at the turnstile, a team of technicians have built a stage, rigged the lights and sound, done sound checks, rehearsed, and safety checked every single aspect of the event. While you jol, these people run around dressed in black and make sure the sound never falters, the lights stay on and that our artists can do what they do best! When you go home, the crew stays behind to pack everything up – sometimes only reaching their homes in the early hours of the morning.
What’s the problem?
Currently, members of the technical production workforce have no way to make a living. The companies that hire them are going out of business. The people that supply equipment are shutting up shop. The production companies that bring artists to our shores are silenced. The venues that host gigs are closing their doors. If something is not done to help the industry survive during lockdown, when we are allowed to go out again – there will be nowhere to go!
What do we need?
We need a voice! While we have not been able to work for five months, Government has not engaged with us. We need to tell our story to decision makers, so that we can come up with a plan to survive the lockdown and open up events safely and responsibly when it’s safe to do so. We are running out of time to claim UIF TERS – even though we are still under level 5 lockdown as an industry. We are not able to feed our crew. Our crew are not able to feed their families. We need help to stay alive while the party is on hold.
What can you do?
We, the technical production and events industry in South Africa, call on you – our Fellow South Africans for support. On 5 August 2020, our crews will be deployed throughout the country to #LightSAred.
- If you see a building in your area lit up, please take a pic and #LightSAred on your social media.
- Find a pic of you and your peeps at a jol, and repost it with #LightSAred.
- Light up your home in red.
- Find a treasured ticket stub, your favourite party dress, your concert and festival memorabilia and light it in red.
- Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LightSAred/ and watch out for our live stream on 5 August from 10:00 to 20:00.
We are all in the heart of a storm amid the COVID-19 pandemic but we are not all in the same boat. The Events industry is aboard a sinking ship, and we are headed for the rocks. Help us light the warning beacon and #LightSAred to remind government and private industry just how much is at stake. To find out more about the campaign, visit www.LightSAred.org.za.