Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the live event industry has been halted. Some of the top managers and producers have now come together to request federal aid as live entertainment’s revenue plummets.
A memo, which was obtained by Billboard, asks Congress to expand the Paycheck Protection Act to entertainment with 500 or fewer employees. Additionally, the group called for an expansion of loans to mid-size businesses under the CARES Act and the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending program.
The memo has been signed by 19 organizations – without signatures from any individual executives – including AEG, Live Nation, and The Broadway League, as well as Feld Entertainment, Spectra Venue Management, VenuWorks, The Ironman Group, and The Spartan Group. The industry giants noted that “our businesses were the first to close and will be the last to reopen.”
“Without immediate financial assistance, the future of the public entertainment and even industry is in question,” the memo read. “Accordingly, Congress must act now to address the severe impact that governmental closures orders have had on this industry.”
A report from Pollstar earlier this month showed that the live event industry could be down as much as $9 billion in revenue this year – an unprecedented blow to the industry. The memo calls for Congress and the insurance industry to establish a Business Recovery Fund, modeled from the 9-11 Victims Fund, noting that businesses and employees “will continue to struggle even after the economy starts.”
At this point, it is unknown when live events will return. A healthcare expert, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, said that he doesn’t believe events will return until fall 2021, and he has “no idea” how promoters are already rescheduling shows for this fall. As more and more people lose their jobs due to stay-at-home orders across the country, the industry faces an even larger loss in revenue. This will make it difficult to restore businesses to the momentum they were once operating under.
“We expect the industry will continue to be disproportionately impacted, as it is likely that even once many of the current orders are relaxed there may well continue to be restrictions and limitations imposed upon public gathering for an extended period,” the letter continued. “While we remain committed to preserving our workforce to the greatest extent possible, it will take much longer for venues, production companies and promoters to fully resume business once the immediate public health emergency has passed.”
The group follows suit of a coalition made up of 800 independent building owners and promoters, who lobbied Congress earlier this month for assistance.