Music venues across America will light up in red on Tuesday, September 1, to urge Congress to pass the Restart Act and help the live events industry survive the coronavirus pandemic. The “red alert” is planned for 9 p.m. to midnight. More than 1,500 venues, event spaces and buildings are slated to participate, and there are ways to show solidarity.
The force behind the movement is #WeMakeEvents, a coalition of live event workers, trade bodies, businesses and unions. The coalition made a video explaining that industry members have been on “red alert” since March when Covid-19 caused a complete shutdown. Since then, 77 percent of workers in the industry lost all of their income. In addition, 96 percent of companies cut their staff and 97 percent of freelance workers were left with zero income.
More than 12 million people work in live events and the industry has an economic impact of more than $1 trillion annually. The supply chain has been devastated due to cancellations and uncertainty over when shows will return.
The Restart Acts offers as much as 90 percent loan forgiveness to companies that experienced high revenue loss. It also doesn’t penalize industries that depend on part-time workers. Grants are rewarded in an amount equivalent to 45 percent of gross revenue from 2019, maximizing at $12 million.
Red lights on Tuesday will also send a signal to Congress to expand the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) programs. The former temporarily broadened unemployment insurance to include self-employed workers, freelancers, independent contractors and part-time workers impacted by the pandemic. The latter provided an extra $600 weekly on top of regular unemployment payments.
“#RedAlertRESTART will only jump-start relief for the live events industry with mass participation,” the coalition stated in a press release. “We need industry workers, venues, fans, and artists to all unite for the cause of saving the places we love.”
To help the coalition, post a red-tinted photo of your favorite live event on social media with the caption: “#RedAlertRESTART: the live events we love may never recover from the pandemic, we need to take action! Take 2 minutes to contact your representatives here, and post a red photo of you at your favorite event, too: https://wemakeevents.org #WeMakeEvents #ExtendPUA.”
Also, follow the #RedAlertRESTART hashtag and share images of venues and live events. Lastly, contact local representatives through the form on the coalition’s website.