New York, NY (September 1, 2020)—Tonight, more than 1,500 venues, famous buildings and homes across the U.S. will be lit up in red from 9PM to midnight in a national effort to raise awareness of the current plight of the live events industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort, dubbed #RedAlertRESTART, was created by grassroots organization We Make Events North America, with an eye towards pushing Congress to pass the RESTART Act, which would help small businesses; extend and further expand PUA for 1099 workers; and extend the $600 FPUC benefits for displaced workers, which ran out in late July.
The event comes in the wake of the We Make Events Red Alert Day of Action on August 11, which bathed more than 700 buildings in red light across the United Kingdom. The North American version was founded the following day and is now set to include venues and buildings in more than 60 cities across America, including multiple major markets such as Washington D.C., Huntsville, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Baltimore, Las Vegas, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Boulder, Fayetteville, Lexington and Louisville. Across the Canadian border, sites in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver will participate as well.
Numerous manufacturers are making their support of the effort known as well. Shure changed its logo on social media from its trademark “ignition green” to red as a show of solidarity with live events pros, and it will light its facilities in red this evening as well. Similarly, Staging Concepts will light its Minneapolis-based headquarters entirely in red to show its support for the movement. On the production side, live sound provider Clair Global is illuminating its Rock Lititz campus in red as well.
In a statement, We Make Events North American director Brad Nelms noted, “The group has managed to gather incredible support for this important movement, signing on more than 30 regional directors to lead the initiative in markets nationally. This team have been so fired up and already have commitments from hundreds of incredible venues and iconic locations nationally who will show support.”
The organization notes that the passage of RESTART is crucial for an industry that has seen 77% of its employees lose all of their income. According to We Make Events, 96% of industry-related companies have cut staff and 97% of its 1099 workers have lost their jobs, while more than half of industry-related businesses expect to lose 70-100% of their income this year. Globally, live events employ more than 12 million people, and in the U.S. alone, they contribute more than $1 trillion every year to the economy.
Nick Whitehouse, CEO of concert design agency Fireplay, noted, “I encourage anyone who works in the industry or who loves events to get involved and share. Creating a spectacle is what we do best; let’s light up this country bigger and better than ever before. But that’s not enough; we need you to write, petition, and call your government officials to let them know the live industry needs help. We don’t have lobbyists or inside officials like other big businesses.”
At press time, the event has gained more than 4,000 followers on social media, while the organization estimates it has reached more than 625,000 people online as a result of its efforts. Hashtags for this evening’s event include #WeMakeEvents, #RedAlertRESTART and #ExtendPUA. The event will be livestreamed on Facebook and on YouTube as well. Originally scheduled for August 27, the event was pushed back so as not to coincide with the conclusion of the RNC.
#RedAlertRESTART comes on the heels of some good news, however, as New Jersey governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order on Monday, August 31, allowing venues to reopen on Friday, September 4, providing that face masks are worn, social distancing is observed and capacity is capped at the lesser of either 25% capacity or 150 people. Venues with dance floors will still not be permitted to open, however. While small, it represents a new beginning for performances in one of the most aggressively hit regions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We Make Events North America • https://www.wemakeevents.org/