#WeMakeEvents: Lighting up America in Support of the Live Entertainment Industry

By Cova Perez Pelaez

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           Live entertainment alone contributes over 1 trillion dollars to the U.S economy and employs more than 12 million people. With nearly every concert canceled through the rest of 2020 and over 77% of the live entertainment industry currently unemployed, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking bleak for artists and workers alike. With no end to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight, industry professionals are taking matters into their own hands and calling on Congress to pass legislation to help financially support their industry and the people who make it all possible.

Over 1,500 venues and businesses across the North American continent will light themselves red on September 1st as part of the campaign #WeMakeEvent that was successfully executed on August 11th in the UK. The event will take place from 9 p.m.-12 a.m. local time and will be broadcast on Facebook Live with footage from various cities including New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Miami.

Brad Nelms, director of #WeMakeEvents North America, discussed the impact COVID-19 has had on the live entertainment industry in an interview stating, “We are immediately tied to large gatherings, so until large gatherings can happen there is no amount of revenue that is sustainable for a large percentage of this industry or the secondary and tertiary industries it supports… there is no hope for them [industry professionals] to have any income without completely pivoting their lives until at least March of next year if not later.”

Nelms later went on to explain the importance of this event and the goals of the organization with their lighting display. “The most important thing we are trying to do with this is to create change from a legal standpoint through Congress. It’s great to make noise, but noise at the end of the day is just noise if it doesn’t have a specific ask behind it. We are looking for specific action through the RESTART Act”. The RESTART Act would offer businesses up to 90% loan forgiveness for those with high revenue loss due to the pandemic and would expand the previous $600 per week Unemployment Insurance (UI) coverage to include those who are not usually eligible for regular UI benefits.  Along with the RESTART Act, the organization also calls for an expansion of the PUA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and the FPUC, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation which would provide financial relief for individuals currently unemployed due to COVID-19.

Anyone interested in taking part in this movement can find more information on how to get involved at www.WeMakeEvents.org. Make sure you watch the live stream of the event September 1st on the We Make Events North America Facebook page and show your support by using the hashtags #WeMakeEvents, #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA on social media.

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