ANDOVER based company Symbiosis joined more than 700 other businesses and event locations - from the Albert Hall to the Blackpool Tower - that lit up their buildings in red to highlight the dramatic situation facing the live events industry.

The #LightItInRed campaign aims to draw attention to the dire straits the events and exhibitions industry, and its entire supply chain is facing; the sector includes exhibition design and build, manufacturers, audio, lighting and video specialists, logistics, transportation, rigging and many more.

Nigel Targett, managing director of Symbiosis, said: “As the first industry to stop working back in early March, we will also be the last to get our businesses working again.

“Without an ongoing sector specific furlough scheme which other European countries have introduced, we cannot secure the long-term future of the UK’s leading, internationally respected and commercially contributing events & exhibitions industry.”

After 17 years of building their business to a multi-million pound turnover, Nigel and his co-founder Vanessa Okell have had to apply for the maximum CIBL and to let staff go because the company’s work dried up overnight due to Covid-19.

While the DCMS has given the exhibitions industry an official restart date of October 1, many trade shows are being cancelled or postponed into 2021.

With very little government support outside of the furlough scheme, business like Symbiosis are facing a very uncertain future.

Peter Heath, CEO of leading trade body PLASA, added: “The live events industry supply chain that contributes to every single event in the UK is set to completely collapse, social distancing prohibits mass events, and even if this stopped now, long- term planning for events won’t enable a return until around March 2021.

“Now the whole industry is coming together to initiate a red alert.

“We have been campaigning for financial support from the government using #WeMakeEvents because the sector is on its last legs.”

Redundancies have already started with research indicating 10% of companies losing staff in July, with an additional 15% in August, and 70% plan to make redundancies by end of 2020.