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We Are All In This Together

Photo of three technicians looking at the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre lit up in red lights
Employment in Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries was 27% lower in September than a year ago at the same time. Here we see three technicians looking at the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre during the #LightUpLive campaign. Photo credit: Kevin Wall

A Success Story

September 22nd was undoubtedly an unforgettable day for the live event community in Canada: 687 venues participated in the The Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community (#LightUpLive) by lighting up their buildings and marquees in red on to raise awareness for an industry that remains dark.

The campaign was a great success: The hashtag #LightUpLive was posted 11,000 times that week, reaching 11 million accounts, and trended to #2 in Canada for almost a day. The cities of Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton among others also participated. 

“We all did a show, all together, from coast to coast in Canada. Now THAT is a first!” – Morgan Myler, co-founder, Live Event Community 

My Friends Were In Trouble

“I did it for my friends who were in trouble”, said Morgan Myler, co-founder of the Live Event Community and the LightUpLive campaign. “In the live event community, everyone knows everyone, and I knew that everybody from coast to coast was in trouble in these times. There are especially mental health issues in our community these days, and we wanted to somehow address them.” 

Headshot of Morgan Myler

Morgan is an accomplished technician and stagehand. He has been in the industry for over 25 years. He co-founded the Live Event Community (along with Harrison Bye, Audiovisual Stage Carpenter and Rob Duncan, Freelance Corporate Event Video Technician) to represent the tens of thousands of unrepresented live event workers who have been out of job since March. 

“We arts workers have challenges, forget the pandemic, we work strange hours, our crews are our families, we are a tight-knit community, we have a culture of working on an artistic emotional rollercoaster sometimes. Those are the things that fuel us and keep us together, and these things were stripped away from our lives since the pandemic.”, commented Morgan, “But that night [September 22nd], we all came together once again, we were united, and that was an amazing morale booster!”

That Was A Show!

The magnitude of #LightUpLive was quite impressive. “Everyone from coast to coast did something in solidarity with their industry. It was inspiring. We were a few people taking in the data and making it into a show. But during the production, just realizing that everybody participated! All the photos we received… That feeling of coming together that happened on September 22nd,! After the event was done, we looked at each other and said: That was a show!”, remembers Morgan. 

Looking at the Future 

With the lockdowns continuing and live events remaining to be cancelled in many parts of Canada, it is foreseeable that September 22nd would need to still be a day of solidarity. “We need to enshrine that [day] somewhere for the live event community. It might be time next year to open the box and talk again about it. We still need to talk to the government. We don’t want to exhaust them, but we also want to make sure that they are reminded so that they don’t forget us”, said Morgan. 

When we asked him what he would like to say to those who participated in #LightUpLive, Morgan said: “I would love to thank everyone who posted a selfie, who lit up their venue. Everyone who participated made a difference in someone’s life. Not only to shed light on the industry, but to also make someone feel better, somewhere in Canada.”

“We are all struggling and trying hard to survive, but at least we are all doing that together.” 

Did you participate in #LightUpLive ? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences with Boran Zaza, Communications Director at CAPACOA

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