Petition Leads To Formation Of Live Events Coalition To Lobby For Production, Event Professionals
By: Francisco Rendon
The “COVID-19 Federal Aid Package for Events Industry” petition previously reported on by Pollstar has led to the formation of the Live Events Coalition, whose membership includes Live Design, International Live Events Association and PRG & VER.
The purpose of the new coalition is to lobby the president and congress to create a task force to “rescue the industry in the face of total collapse” after efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 have completely disrupted the live event business.
At press time, the number of signatories on the original Change.org petition was about to reach its goal of 300,000, and many signatories provided stories to Pollstar describing their heartbreaking circumstances.
“The coronavirus outbreak is threatening to eliminate the livelihoods of millions of Americans and their companies, with the possibility of wiping them out for good if action is not taken right now,” Rothwell wrote in a statement. “The White House is holding talks with representatives from many different secotrs of the economy and we are asking to be brought into those talks right away. We represent people in every state of the Union and make a major contribution to the U.S. economy.”
The participation of so many companies, the original petition’s organizer Isaac Rothwell of Digerati Productions told Pollstar, has brought what was a grassroots movement into an increasingly organized effort to get resources for a devastated industry. The coalition claims that the live event industry supports more than 10 million American jobs and generates $1.1 trillion annually in the global economy, but those numbers have both been reduced to nearly zero for the foreseeable future.
PRG & VER is a leading force in the production world, and their backing brings firepower to the movement. The two companies merged in 2018, cementing the union as a leader in production with approximately 70 locations on five continents.
“Our mission is to ensure that events-relates businesses – and the millions of Americans in our displaced workforce, including full and part-time workers, independent contractors and freelance professionals that we employ – are included in future supplemental relief aid packages.”
The Coalition is the latest voice calling to save the live industry after Music Artists Coalition, Eventbrite CEO and co-founder Julia Hartz, and even congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) provided similar messages.
“The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the entire live event industry in the U.S. like never before,” Hartz wrote in a letter to President Trump. “Our creators’ events have been canceled or postponed across the country as we all follow guidance to practice social distancing, resulting in an unprecedented economic hardship for thousands of small businesses, their employees, and the local economies where they operate.”
In addition to the major production companies, Pollstar understands that talks are underway for additional high-profile signatories to lend aid to the work of the petition and the coalition.