January 2021 sees Twitter and Facebook feeds quieten down as Trump is banned while COVID spikes at unprecedented levels in the UK. Our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns continues.
Donald Trump calls for attendees at a “Stop the Steal” rally to “fight like hell”. They go on to storm the Capitol until Trump tells them he loves them and they all go home.
In the UK, things are not as bad as “Lock Down 1” but we saw a drop to 17% of normal business, but it is pretty dire considering how things were on an upward trajectory in the last quarter of 2020. Given that January is traditionally our worst month, there was cause for hope that there was a little activity rather than the near complete shutdown we saw in May and June 2020.
Scotland and the North of England got a heavy snow fall.
The announcement of the vaccine rollout gives hope that we could see the start of things returning to normal for events at some point this year. Still a long way to go.
View from the top
Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group
Well who turned the lights out? As expected, Edna failed to make it as far as Chinese New Year and trading has fallen off a cliff. So, was the easing of restrictions a prudent call? Not as far as the NHS is concerned and certainly not as far as the event industry can see. Anticipating another rough ride in the wake of Christmas, we have been working towards an extension of our Sybil support. These discussions started two months ago once it became clear that our initial projected recovery to see our markets return in Q4 2020 was overoptimistic.
On the front line
Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West
Our worst fears become reality and we are once again plunged into another lockdown. There is a real frustration that it has come to this again, and a real wakeup call that we must remain vigilant.
I take a shift on a site in Newport that will eventually become a COVID testing site, which proved to me just how far away we were if these sites were continuing to be built. The vaccine rollout gives a small amount of hope but but we’re still a long way away. The announcement from Michael and Emily Eavis about the cancellation of Glastonbury is yet another hammer blow to any idea of normality in the events industry returning anytime soon.
Scott Young – Senior Crew Chief – Scotland
Still trying to sort a mortgage
Best snow fall for years on the slopes and we can’t get near them!
Mark Visser – Crew Chief – London
Always the quietest month of the events year historically, so no high hopes for lots of shifts and I wasn’t disappointed.
Two COVID tests done – Negative both times. Roll out of the vaccines brings a little hope to all.
Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London
More rest in a cold, cold month.
The good news was however the announcement of the vaccine rollout. We could start predicting a return to an impression of normal life, and I saw my faith restored in the prowess of the UK’s medical systems.
What happened in BD
Antony Cook – Head of Business Development
“Lock Down 3” begins and it seems like this is the new ‘normal’ so feels like less of an impact in what is a notoriously quiet month for us anyway, the 1st time in 9 years I have not been involved in some way or another in the Cirque build at the Royal Albert Hall who happens to turn 150 this year, with celebrations currently on hold.
Will this shit ever end??
What happened in HR
Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources
It was obvious before Christmas that we were heading for Lock Down 3 and the figures are frightening. Brexit happened too! The vaccine programme is storming ahead and that must be the way out of this. Walking down my local high street it is scarily quiet – luckily for us the weekly market still goes ahead so there is an opportunity to buy some local produce and have a chat. The good news at the end of the month is that we are going to be given a roadmap out of this – always with the proviso that the numbers head in the right direction. What a way to begin a New Year.
What happened in IT
Darren Thorley – Head of IT
Quiet on the IT front. Enough activity to keep me busy when not on furlough but I can’t say I am pushed compared to what I was up to 8 months ago.
I helped the Ops team very occasionally if the phones got busy (usually in the morning when our crew were phoning in to see if there was any work).
I got a bit frustrated that neither my wife (frontline worker in a hospital) nor both my parents (both in the vulnerable groups that were supposed to be prioritised) had been offered their vaccine shots yet. I wasn’t seeing what the government was very publicly saying on the vaccine roll-out. I kept telling myself to be patient, but it was hard.