WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Bringing together the broadest coalition across the live events industry, #SaveLiveEventsNow is an initiative aiming to expand government relief for the more than 12 million live event workers across the United States who have been out of work since concerts, plays, comedy shows, and all other events shut down in March.
Live event workers are in dire need of comprehensive financial support from Congress because they are in one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic and last in line for reopening. Congress has taken steps to show support for the live industry and its contributions to the culture and economy of local communities with bipartisan collaboration on the proposed Save Our Stages (SOS) Act, which provides relief for independent venues and businesses. This is an important first step for some of the most vulnerable parts of the industry, but it is only a first step. The vital workers across every sector of the live event industry are still at risk. Our elected officials need to act swiftly to broaden support and provide assistance to 90% of the 12 million industry workers employed by venues and businesses that don't qualify for support under Save Our Stages. All live events are on pause, all live event workers are hurting, and every one of them deserves access to a helping hand regardless of where they work – whether it's at large or small venues, at festivals, or on tour across the country.
It's estimated 77% of live event workers have lost 100% of their income. #SaveLiveEventsNow is focused on meeting the basic needs of workers to bridge the gap until events can return.
The coalition advocates for the following measures to be added to relief efforts to support all workers of live events. Text LIVE EVENTS to 40649 to share these demands with local representatives:
- Financial support until shows are able to restart. Extension of the $600 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation can directly give relief to industry workers.
- Expand Save Our Stages to include support for small venues under 5,000 seats and multi-use publicly-owned venues. These venues are essential employers for live event workers and need access to grants to remain viable until mass gatherings resume.
- Employer retention tax credits. With these credits, workers still employed can maintain employment until shows return and furloughed employees can continue to receive their employer-sponsored healthcare.
- A healthcare subsidy to ensure that no one loses their benefits. The passage of the 100% COBRA premium subsidy can keep employees insured on their job-based healthcare plan.
- Equitable unemployment benefits for mixed income earners. Currently, gig musicians with multiple employment streams face unnecessary burdens when filing for unemployment. The ultimate passage of the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Act (H.R. 7691) can help provide some financial security for these gig workers.
- Tax fairness. The passage of the bipartisan Performing Artist Tax Parity Act (H.R. 3121) would allow live event workers to keep more of their hard-earned money by deducting necessary business expenses from their taxes.
#SaveLiveEventsNow represents the broadest coalition of voices for the overall live entertainment industry, supported by over 20 companies and organizations including the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Recording Industry Association of America® (RIAA), AEG Presents, Music Artists Coalition (MAC), Feld Entertainment, Live Nation Entertainment, International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Oak View Group, Rhino, TAIT, Endeavor, WME, CAA, UTA, Paradigm, SAG-AFTRA, Universal Music Group and many more. Partners are joining daily and the latest list can be found at SaveLiveEventsNow.com.
"Staging an event is no easy task, and these specialized workers have honed their craft over decades. If we abandon them at this critical time, our music, theater, and live entertainment may never recover," said Tyler McIntosh, Political/Legislative Director, IATSE.
"Live entertainment and in-person experiences play vital roles in stimulating our culture, communities, and local economies and venues are the centers that host and make that possible. Many venues are publicly owned because our society has recognized the important role they play, and now we need to extend that same acknowledgement to the millions of workers who are just as critical to the future of events," said Brad Mayne, CVE - CEO, International Association of Venue Managers.
Live events are not just entertainment. For crews, box office staff, bookers, artists, and live event vendors, they are essential. Over 12 million Americans work directly to create the live events, concerts, family-friendly shows, and theater that entertain tens of millions more. Thousands of additional workers work to provide ancillary products and services. These people include both union and non-union workers who set up, produce, manage, and coordinate every aspect of every live event all across the country.
About Save Live Events Now
Since the global pandemic struck the industry in March, over 12 million people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. As the fight for industry workers continues, the #SaveLiveEventsNow campaign was launched online to save the people who power live events so they can bring music, theater, comedy, and all kinds of culture back when the show can go on once again. Learn more at saveliveeventsnow.com.