The city-owned accesso ShoWare Center in Kent was lit in red on Tuesday night, Sept. 1, to help raise public awareness about getting Congress to provide financial aid to the live events industry.
From 9 p.m. to midnight, more than 1,500 venues across the nation were lit in red to let people know about the economic uncertainty of all those who work in the live events industry and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on their lives. The ShoWare Center has been closed since March because of COVID-19, except for drive-in movies that were held in the rear parking lot in July and August.
“The entire industry has been impacted by the shutdown, including performers, technicians, stagehands, ticket takers, lighting, sound & amp; video companies and concert arenas like accesso ShoWare Center,” said Tim Higgins, ShoWare Center general manager, in a media release. “Entertainment and events were instantly shut down in March and will be late to recover. Our industry and workers need more relief measures like the RESTART Act.”
The industry wants Congress to approve the RESTART (Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty) Act, a bill that has stalled in Washington, D.C., that would bring some financial relief to venues. The group also supports extended and expanded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which supplement earnings per week for those on unemployment and opens up unemployment to 1099 (self-employed contractors) workers.
“The entire live events industry is on the brink of collapse,” said Brad Nelms, director of WeMakeEvents North America, in a release. “Without financial relief, many businesses stand to permanently close, and families risk bankruptcy and homelessness. 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.”
The North American event was created after the Aug. 11 United Kingdom event, “#WeMakeEvents Day of Action” when over 700 buildings were lit in red across the country, calling attention to the live events industry.
We Make Events North America Coalition Reports:
• Live events employ over 12 million people.
• Live events contributes over $1 trillion annually to the US economy.
• 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
• 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages.
• 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers.