As the first to shut down and the last to re-open, the live entertainment industry is calling for help.
On September 1, We Make Events North America is hosting a RED ALERT event in which about 1500 structures across the nation will be lit up in red to spread awareness for the 12 million unemployed people in the North American entertainment industry whose livelihood depends on large group gatherings.
Christopher Darling, who handles logistics for concert tours and has worked for artists from Adele to Beyoncé, explained the widespread effects COVID-19 has had on the live entertainment industry.
“Everyone who attends a live performance is entertained by the musicians, sound, lights, and video,” Darling said. “However, no one really takes notice of the truck drivers, security guards, caterers, choreographers, set designers, wardrobe and makeup artists. These people have been forgotten about and have no idea when they can return to work and what that will look like when they do.”
The objective of the RED ALERT movement is threefold: to raise awareness, to incite government support for the RESTART Act, and to push for the expansion and extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
Brad Nelms, director of We Make Events North America, emphasized the importance of social media and the dire need to take action now.
“There are companies who will, quite literally, not make it to October or November,” he said. “The biggest challenge that we have is that no one understands the scope and magnitude of our industry. Using social media to create organic viral campaigns, coupled with local and national media coverage is going to be key to turning this event into action in Congress.”
Scott Cadwallader, tour manager for Jack Johnson, strongly encouraged people to join on September 1.
“Our industry is completely shuttered and made up of mainly small businesses and independent contractors,” he said. “We are part of your families, friends and neighbors. We need your awareness, support, activation, and effort to amplify our voice and raise awareness to our Congress and Senators.”
As of Friday, morning, August 28, the following Santa Barbara venues have committed to lighting up for RED ALERT: the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Arlington Theater, and the Lobero Theater.
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