The 13th of March, 2020, our world went dark and silent.
We are a career occupational group that no one knows exists. We are often unseen. We are often unheard. You never knew we were there, yet we are the ones that are behind the scenes, often times for days and insane hours insuring you get the memories of a lifetime. We are the hundreds of thousands of workers in Sweden that work to put on your event.
On March 13th, 2020, our entire livelihood closed down. Our work places, our work opportunities, our purpose and consequently also our income.
The Swedish Parlament gave financial support to the big (in many cases government owned) institutions like the Royal Dramatisk Theatre and the Royal Opera as well as financial assistance to museums. However, the entire cultural business is suffering and in desperate need of financial support.
We represent this sector, and we have completely slipped through the cracks.
What do we want?
- The rules and processing times for a-kassa have to be looked into, especially for us, who are majority freelance workers that are self-employed or on hourly paid wages. This includes everyone, from the drivers who transport equipment to production managers, the artists, stagehands, forklift drivers, caterers, sound- and light technicians, tour managers, merchandisers, riggers, steel workers, etc. We are an entire army of people who work tirelessly to put on these events that bring in over 600 billion SEK annually, and we are in dire need of direct crisis support.
- The companies that completely slip through the cracks like the international booking agencies, high revenue export bands and artists and management companies that contribute 50% of their income in taxes to shows profited on abroad are completely ignored. This needs to change.
- We want to see financing, funding and support made available to develop ideas on how to practice cultural events safely despite the threat of COVID-19.
We want to work, not be put on Welfare.
- We want to be productive members of the solution. If we can build, organize, and insure the safety required for a 60,000 person festival in three weeks time during normal circumstances, we can do anything. Let’s work together with coming up with real solutions.
- Most important, we require emergency, urgent financial assistance. Many of us are losing our homes with no livelihood. Many of us are are suffering extreme mental anguish from not having a choice or a say in the matter of how we can survive moving forward.
Amanda Lind, the Cultural Secretary of Sweden, says the government is aware of how difficult it is for the cultural sector. She says the culture will receive 1,5 billion SEK, without specifying where the money will end up or who will benefit from the funding. She says she has had conversations with representatives from sport and culture. We may be disillusioned, but she has not been talking to us. We have not received any promise of financial support.
Our business was booming. Now it’s in a deep crisis. We participated in bringing in billions, now we need a little of that back.
On September 6, 2020, at exactly 13:03, there will be a nationwide movement to make our politicians notice us. No longer will we hide behind the scenes, in the shadows.
Why 13:03? This represents the 13th of March. The date that our world shut down and we were deemed non-essential.
We are a career occupational group no one knows exists. We will change that.