At the latest meeting of Scotland’s Event Industry Advisory Group members welcomed the recent delivery of funding activity for the industry but warned that more information must be forthcoming urgently if there is to be a summer of events in 2021.
The group, which comprises senior representation from across the events and festivals industry and supply chain, has been in regular dialogue with the Scottish Government and Ministers to represent the interests of the sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of its key successes has been securing a number of funding programmes for the sector and at the latest meeting the group were updated on the successful delivery of funding streams by VisitScotland including Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, the Pivotal Events Business Fund and the Events Industry Support Fund which are estimated to have collectively supported more than 1000 businesses.
During the meeting members also pressed Scottish Government officials over concerns about a lack of information in relation to updated guidance and a route map for the return of events. The group continued to highlight the significant disadvantages they face in Scotland following the publication of dates and spectator numbers by the UK Government.
The group has highlighted that due to long lead in times required for events any further delay in the provision of information by the Scottish Government threatens the potential for events taking place during the summer and places event businesses at greater risk despite optimism around the vaccine rollout.
The group also heard updates on the UK Government’s announcement about its four research projects, including the Events Research Programme and welcomed news that Scottish Government officials are plugged into the programme as part of a Four Nations approach and will benefit from shared information on the results of the activity.
A proposal to review the current UK Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes and create new event sector specific codes has been received and endorsed by the group. The proposal, tabled by Geoff Crow from 21CC Group Ltd, will form a task force to conduct research into existing codes and recommend the creation of new codes to better reflect the events industry, helping the sector to be better recognised when it comes to support and stimulus packages.
The delivery of activity such as the funding support packages administered by VisitScotland and the review of SIC Codes are great examples of work the Events Industry Advisory Group is influencing and delivering on behalf of the sector.
It also continues to represent the views of the industry in relation to the Scottish Government’s Strategic Framework for COVID-19 recovery and members robustly raised concerns about the urgent need for information and guidance in relation to the return of events. It is clear that many event organisers need clarity now in order to be able to prepare for the summer.