Updated: Industry reacts to Brexit result

Event has spoken to a snapshot of readers regarding Britain's decision to leave the EU, with a number of companies believing the industry will be negatively affected.

EU referendum: Industry reaction to the result
EU referendum: Industry reaction to the result

Event’s recent Twitter polls had averaged out at 57% in favour of remaining in the European Union. Agencies, associations, venues and industry suppliers were among those in favour of a 'remain' vote.

Pretty Green’s founder Mark Stringer commented: "I think it's a very sad day for the creative industry as a whole - it is an industry that relies on trading in a global village. I believe economic uncertainty and an economic downturn will inevitably follow a leave vote, which will take possibly a decade to recover from. Given the strength of our economy, it feels like commercial suicide.

"Immigration remains an issue for the whole of Europe and I believe that the negatives don't outweigh the positives of remaining in Europe."

The International Live Events Association’s UK chapter president Kevin Jackson stated: "We are the UK chapter of a global organisation. We celebrate the strengths of a British industry, while recognising that being part of something bigger gives us access to an international community of excellence. Furthermore, so much of the work that our members do takes place right across the continent and beyond."

Sternberg Clarke also expressed concerns of negative business impact following the leave result. "We work with performers – a lot of whom have moved to London from outside the UK – it’s what makes our pool of performers so diverse and is why London is such a great place for events. Also in terms of supplying to events in Europe, it may make ours and our performers’ lives difficult having to sort out visas and extra paperwork."

Kru Live’s group CEO and founder of the Staffing and Entertainment Collective Tom Eatenton, stated that the company will take a balanced approach to the result and didn't believe the business would feel a negative impact. "We will embrace it and make the best of the situation – it is the only thing anyone can do. Although we will need to be mindful of some matters like the resulting implications on VAT when trading in the EU, we don’t feel that we will experience a negative impact following the leave result. Clients work with UK agencies because they get a fantastic service and fantastic results. Our view is that this will not change."

Dale Parmenter Group CEO of drp warned that there must be a focus on business as usual. "We are so good in this country in over speculating and sensationalism. We need to be calm while the uncertainty continues and look for the opportunities, while keeping an close eye on the threats. Unfortunately our sector is dominated so much on how large global corporates respond and act, we need to understand what it all means for them and hope all the noise settles as quickly as possible."

Concerto Group chief executive Sam Gill agrees: "There is no doubt that the UK economy will be in a state of shock for the next few weeks.  However, we must not forget that the underlying UK economy is growing and will remain one of the strongest in Europe as the negotiations proceed over the next two years. Having been through and survived many dips in business confidence over the past 30 years, I am confident that clients will continue to invest in events that add value to their staff morale and marketing activity."

While David Pegler, ceo at ExCel London, said that he was pleased that the uncertainty of the referendum was over. He said: "Although we do not yet know the full details of what Brexit will mean in terms of trade, access to the single market or free-flowing business travel, we are confident of a bright future for the London economy and for ExCeL.

"London always has and always will be a great place to live, work and do business. Even outside of the EU, London’s advantages as a world city - its time zone, access to cutting edge technology and innovation, a competitive business environment, transport connectivity, its economic dynamism, its strength in financial services, the availability of a highly skilled workforce, and its innate entrepreneurial spirit – will ensure that the capital will not just survive but thrive in the global economy."

Yet Amplify’s founder Jonathan Emmins stated that with the majority of his agency’s work being within Europe, his view on the referendum was clear from the outset. "From a creative point of view Amplify’s business is about harnessing the best of culture, connecting audiences with brands. To me it would seem odd to be doing this with a myopic view of the world. From a business point of view 60% of our work is outside the UK, with the majority of that being within Europe. We currently enjoy (relatively) free trade, running campaigns across multiple territories and would want that to continue. Not being part of the largest trading community on our doorstep would be both very odd and very disappointing".

EVCOM’s chairman Steve Garvey said the association urges the UK Government, the European Council and the European Commission to work closely and constructively towards an orderly exit for the UK from the EU. "The live and visual communication industry is significant, contributing approximately 2% of UK GDP. The success of EVCOM members in exporting to the EU and global markets is vital to the continued ability of our members to contribute to the success of the UK economy," he said.

"Our members look to political leaders to provide stability, certainty and clarity at the earliest opportunity to support business decisions concerning investment, employment and international trade.

"In particular we believe it is vital to continue to allow the free movement of people, capital, goods and services between the UK and the rest of Europe. While the UK will remain a member of the EU for some time, it is essential that our members are able to deliver events and produce screen content in the EU after the Brexit process is completed."

Tracy Halliwell, director of business tourism and major events at London & Partners, said the vote doesn't alter London's position as one of the world's most welcoming and truly global cities. "London remains one of the best cities in which to build a global business and to hold an international event. We are also one of the most connected cities on the planet offering a great breadth of unique event spaces and hotel accommodation. Until the facts become clearer, we believe there is no immediate cause for concern and there will be ample time to develop and effect plans to ensure continuity of business over the coming years," she commented.

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