Music venues across the U.S. will bathe their facilities in red light on Tuesday evening to encourage Congress to pass the Restart Act, which would provide much-needed assistance for millions of Americans who have lost income due to the pandemic.
Spearheaded by the #WeMakeEvents coalition, the #RedAlertRESTART campaign seeks to bring awareness to the dire situation live music faces if Capitol Hill does not supply support for venues that have been shuttered since mid-March in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. From 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. PST on Tuesday night, music venues nationwide will be lit red to highlight that the live events industry is on red alert for its survival.
The campaign is also coming out in support of ExtendPUA.org, which is lobbying for the continuation and extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to provide relief to those without work due to COVID-19.
“The entire live events industry is on the brink of collapse. Without financial relief, many businesses stand to permanently close, and families risk bankruptcy and homelessness,” said Brad Nelms, director of WeMakeEvents North America, in a release. “We want to take this opportunity to show the world the scale of what it takes to make live entertainment events happen and demonstrate how much this crisis has affected our community. This is a human issue, not a political issue, and it requires immediate action. While we realize there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organizations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry.”
Unlike other relief bills that have been passed by Congress to support businesses during the pandemic, the Restart Act offers up to 90% forgiveness for loans to companies that have high revenue loss and doesn’t penalize industries that rely on part-time employees. In addition, rather than basing loan amounts on payroll, the Restart Act includes grants that are made to eligible recipients in an amount equal to 45% of gross revenue from 2019, with a cap of $12 million.
The #RedAlertRESTART event is expected to include over 1,500 locations across North American, including venues in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington D.C., Huntsville, Denver, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Baltimore, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Boulder, Fayetteville, Lexington and Louisville and Canadian neighbors including Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Other venues or live event producers interested in joining the event can head to wemakeevents.org. Organizations and associations sponsoring the campaign include the Entertainment Services & Technology Association, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the International Association of Venue Managers, the Live Events Coalition, the National Association of Music Merchants, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association, the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association and the United States Institute of Theatre Technology.