Event vendors left in the lurch, bear brunt of covid crisis
With mounting fixed costs and frozen revenues, it has posed a question of survival for event vendors.
Hit by the Covid-19 economic slump and nationwide lockdown the event industry is slowly regaining its feet after over 6 months.
But these past few months have had a devastating impact on the business of event vendors. With mounting fixed costs and frozen revenues, it has posed a question of survival for them.
Madhu Oswin, CEO of Hangar 18 Entertainment- a sound and light production house in Hyderabad informed that the business has almost come to a standstill. Survival during these times was made out of the reserves.
With huge losses and pending payments not being cleared, there is also additional expenditure incurred to retain technical staff, for maintenance and warehouse rents. Meeting all these expenses has been a challenge for most vendors.
Oswin also expressed his disappointment with the government and said, “The sad part is, even with the industry being forecasted close to Rs 10,000 crore before Covid, the Government and the financial institutions fail to consider our profession as mainstream. No benefits, no tax reforms and no loan restructuring after moratorium.”
Many international brands have been pulling out of India and this has resulted in lack of sponsorships. The recent Harley Davidson pull out, which used to support music festivals and other local brands has further impacted the event sponsorships. Moreover, the travel ban and corona scare has led all international concerts to be down to zero.
Empathising with event vendors who are out of work during these times, Nanni Singh, Chief Executive, ShowCase Events said, “Reaching out to artists and event companies and taking initiative themselves is required to be done by event vendors. Modifying their mode of work and finding alternative sources of making revenue is absolutely essential during this time.”
She further added that the desperation level among vendors is so much at the moment that they are even ready to change their profession and do anything that enables them to make money.
Vishnu Pandit, SD Audio, Bangalore reiterated that the pandemic has impacted his business in a big way. He said, “Covid-19 has not only affected business but also the thought process of people. It is only the passion and positive thinking that has kept us going.”
Speaking about the huge losses incurred, Pandit added, “No events mean no income. Paying huge rents for warehouses, salary for staff, loans etc have led us to a point where personal savings are being used to sustain business.”
For now the path to revival looks challenging. Also, experts say that once the market opens it's going to be a tussle for rental companies and most vendors to bag orders as they would be more focussed on overcoming losses and sustaining their businesses.
Dharmesh who owns a studio in Karol Bagh, New Delhi and does live productions for music concerts maintained that no queries have been raised in the past six months. He added, “I haven't earned a single penny and all I am living these days is out of my savings only, it seems corona has devastated our lives for the next one year.”
Survival is at stake for small vendors as their savings might only last for a few months and with no immediate government relief, the situation for them has deteriorated.
Dharmesh is also searching for an alternate source of income. “I am looking for jobs these days but the job sector is also devastated. I gave some interviews but let's see when I will get a call from those companies to join,” he added.
Opening up of the industry is the only permanent solution to the problems of event vendors. While smaller corporate events and weddings are the first to start around November, bigger concerts or festivals are not expected to start unless and until a vaccine for Covid-19 is in place.
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