On Monday 12 October 2020, 200 event professionals from various sectors of the industry stood together to welcome the Survival Tour and support the 40,000 people in Bristol who make events. The Survival Tour consisted of five event professionals, plus one driving a supporting tour bus. The group are cycling 80-125km each day, stopping at 100 of the most iconic festival tour and performance venues in the country, all of which have been unable to open as usual since lockdown.

The Bristol Beacon and the O2 Academy Bristol lit up to welcome the riders with Utopium and Evans Audio and Staging providing a light installation for the protest. Ashton Gate Stadium also lit up red in support of the event and the Doubletree by Hilton Bristol City Centre offered their support by providing accommodation for the cyclists.

The Survival Tour visited Bristol Beacon for WeMakeEvents campaign

Image: Bristol Beacon with the Survival Tour cyclists (Credit-Paul Box)

As a creative and cultural hub, Bristol is home to thousands of events and festivals.

Bristol was also named the 6th most popular UK destination for meetings and events in the 2020 British Meetings and Events Industry Survey. Home to two leading Universities, the city is an attractive destination for international association conferences linked to the region’s economic strengths.

Plus it is one of the UK’s most popular destinations for festivals, proudly hosting many major annual events such as Encounters film festival, Upfest - Europe’s largest street art festival - and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the city each year. The events industry brings more than £300 million into the city’s economy.

Event staff from Bristol protest together for WeMakeEvents campaign - October 2020

Image: Event staff line the central promenade in Bristol to highlight the campaign (Credit-Paul Box)

Venues in Bristol and the surrounding areas have worked hard to survive the pandemic, and made significant financial investments to become Covid secure, in order to continue with business under the government guidelines. Many are barely breaking even due to the limited capacity and activity that is currently allowed to take place. Unfortunately, more redundancies are inevitable without further support.

Meet Bristol supports the development of business events in Bristol and the surrounding areas, through marketing and promotion, trade events and strategic relationships as well as our venue finding platform. As the city’s Convention Bureau, Meet Bristol has adapted and made changes to our messaging whilst focussing on being a valuable source of advice to members during these tough times.

Ashton Gate Stadium lit up with red light to support We Make Events campaign

Image: Ashton Gate Stadium was also lit up red to support the campaign

Amy Bramhall, Convention Bureau Manager for Meet Bristol, comments: “We have continued to promote Bristol responsibly throughout the pandemic as a business events destination for future events, highlighting the safety measures that our venues and suppliers have put in place and the hybrid options available. Collaboration is key to recovery. We value the importance of working closely with our partners to innovate and support national campaigns such as #WeMakeEvents to contribute to the overall voice of the industry.”

"We’ve seen suppliers adapt their businesses to refocus on upskilling, virtual event management and making the required changes to host face-to-face events safely under government guidelines. A timeline for reopening the industry is urgently required so we can safely get back to business and rebuild our once thriving and viable industry."

Suggested further reading:

Ventriloquist and dummy are part of the WeMakeEvents protest in Bristol

Image: A ventriloquist and dummy join the #WeMakeEvents protest (Credit:Colin Moody)

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