Shedding light on live event industry’s struggles amid pandemic

Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 2:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -No industry has been devastated by the pandemic more than the live event industry.

From concerts to stage performances, just about every venue remains dark, which is why an upcoming event aims to raise awareness about the industry’s struggles.

Being in the business of entertaining hundreds or thousands of people has never felt so empty.

Just ask PMI Entertainment Group, which manages the Resch Center and Meyer Theatre.

“Our company has about 60 or so full-time employees and at least half have been laid off. It’s about as bad as it gets for our industry and unfortunately unlike many of the others who were struggling and now are back at some level, we’re not back at all, and we’ll likely be the last to return because when can we have a concert of 10,000 people,” questions Terry Charles, PMI Entertainment Group Senior Manager of Corporate Communications.

Smaller venues are in the same boat, sitting silent for the past six months.

“We went, from across our three venues, doing around 400 events a year to down to almost nothing,” says Paul Mashl, St. Norbert College Operations Director for the Visual and Performing Arts.

Which is why next Tuesday night, September 1st, from 9 pm until midnight, St. Norbert College, and other local entertainment venues, will take part in RedAlertRestart, an effort across North America to light up buildings in red to shed light on the industry’s struggles and massive loss of work.

“About 96-percent of our industry shut down overnight, 95-percent of venues and businesses had to lay off staff. On a large scale show it can take up to 500 people to make a performance happen, you’re talking truck drivers, catering, video operators, spotlight, lighting techs, audio techs, you name it, hairdressers,” says Corey Pinchart, St. Norbert College Technical Director.

“We need congress to step up and help our industry because like others have said, we were the first to shut down and we’ll probably be the last to turn back on,” adds Mashl.

“Anything we can do to bring attention to the plight of our industry, you know the state is not good, we hope the fate will be good,” says Charles.

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