The Industry and COVID-19
26 May 2020 - by Graham
We had big plans at the start of 2020. From September last year we began a programme of upgrades to our equipment, replacing a lot of our old front-line analogue gear with new digital systems and streamlining our setup processes so we could work faster and smarter. We went through all our cables and tested everything thoroughly so there would be no surprises when we got on the road, and we bought new cases for amplifiers and other near-stage equipment to make them easier to set up and to give anything that is visible to the audience a more consistent and pleasing look. By February we were ready to go, and we had started to book exciting events throughout the year with international bands, new venues, charity events...
Then the pandemic hit and everything stopped.
We are lucky in that our storage costs are minimal and we financed the equipment upgrades ourselves rather than through expensive bank loans, so we will be ready to respond whenever things get going again without any real losses. But many small hire and events businesses will be in a very different position. Those that specialise in outdoor events traditionally do all their upgrades and purchases in the November to February period when things are fairly static, often financed from short-term expensive loans with the expectation that they will get the return to pay them off in the first few months of the year. But with no events happening and loans still needing to be paid, I expect that more than a few small businesses in this sector will be struggling by the end of summer.
There are no magic bullets to fix this and no quick solutions especially whilst the restrictions are still in place, but when this pandemic is on the wane and events start running again there is no doubt that people will be crying out for things to attend and places to go. So give them something to go to. Make your events special and bring in some of the smaller local companies to run your PA and lighting. Hire local bands and singers, and give stage time to local DJs. All these people will be desperate for work, and by supporting them you keep the industry - and your customer base - alive.