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Event industry under pressure – Even major concerts are fighting for skilled workers – News

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Event industry under pressure – Even major concerts are fighting for skilled workers – News

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Many stars are playing in Germany this summer. Due to a lack of skilled workers, the festivals help each other out.

In front of the entrance to Zurich’s Letzigrund Stadium, nervousness increases in the late afternoon because the doors are about to open.

Legend: Antoine came all the way from Alsace for the Coldplay concert in Zurich’s Letzigrund. At 7.30 a.m. he and his colleague were already in front of the stadium. SRF/Christoph Brunner

Simon Evans, on the other hand, the production manager for the two Coldplay concerts, can finally take a deep breath: “We’ve been on the job since yesterday. Set up was delayed because of the rain, so it turned out to be a long evening. We programmed lights and lasers into the night.”

At Simon Evans, many threads come together behind the scenes. Among other things, he is responsible for ensuring that the schedule is adhered to: If Coldplay played longer than 10:30 p.m., the concert organizer risked a fine from the city of Zurich.

Legend: Simon Evans must have an overview of the challenging organization at the major concerts. SRF/Christoph Brunner

Evans also has to make sure that everything runs smoothly, that all of the band’s trucks are licensed, that meals are ready for the crew – and that special requests from the band are fulfilled.

For example, the afternoon before the first Coldplay concert, he had to get local football shirts as souvenirs.

600 helpers – otherwise it wouldn’t work

On the part of the Swiss organizer alone, 350 helpers are on hand for the two Coldplay concerts, who help with the set-up and dismantling. Around 250 security people and ushers are also needed to guard the entrances and exits and look after the fans.

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Legend: Many fans are waiting to be admitted in front of the Letzigrund stadium. It takes a lot of security personnel to look after the tens of thousands of fans. SRF/Christoph Brunner

Such a large local crew is unavoidable, says Simon Evans: “One shouldn’t forget that we have a total of 96,000 visitors at these two concerts.”

Since the corona pandemic, however, it has not been so easy to find enough helpers, says Live Nation Managing Director Ralph Schuler. Many specialists had reoriented themselves during the pandemic, when there were no concerts or other events, and are now no longer available.

Legend: Live Nation Managing Director Ralph Schuler knows about the need to be able to summon and keep enough event specialists. SRF/Christoph Brunner

This is a problem because there are currently a lot of major events: “A few days after Coldplay, the Guns n’ Roses concert in Bern is on the program, followed by the Open Air Frauenfeld and so on. You need enough people everywhere.”

The shortage of skilled workers affects the entire industry.

It is therefore the task of Live Nation Switzerland to build up a sufficiently large pool of specialists and to create working conditions to keep these people. “The shortage of skilled workers affects the entire industry,” says Schuler, “and it’s nice to see how the individual organizers have been working together more since the pandemic. For example, it happens again and again that people help each other out and find helpers.”

Legend: Fabienne and Sarina from the canton of Zurich have also been waiting in front of the stadium since the morning hours. SRF/Christoph Brunner

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The shortage of skilled workers caused by the pandemic has therefore led to a new solidarity within the concert industry. And according to Simon Evans, the concerts themselves have also become more euphoric since the pandemic: “The joy of the people is incredibly palpable. Great emotions are released at the concerts because people can now enjoy live music together again in an informal and unrestricted manner. That’s the most beautiful thing about the post-corona concerts.”

Simon Evans – in showbiz for decades

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Legend: SRF / Christoph Brunner

Simon Evans grew up in Switzerland, Italy and the USA and is an “old hand” in show business.

He can look back on a 30-year career as a musician, sound engineer, tour manager and production manager of major concerts – including overseeing over 300 shows for the Swiss concert promoter Good News.

Evans is now employed by Live Nation Switzerland, the Swiss subsidiary of the world‘s largest live music company, which Coldplay brought to Switzerland.

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