America’s live entertainment industry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are musicians and industry workers suffering financially, but so are those who work behind the scenes.
Live Event Workers Feel Forgotten
As events continue to be canceled, live event workers are struggling to obtain income. Those who handle concert lighting, sound, video, and more are feeling forgotten during this unfortunate time. Many have been let go or furloughed, and are struggling financially.
News publication NBC recently spoke with Brad Dunnum, owner of production company ARIA Show Technology in Michigan. The pandemic forced him to fire his whole staff in June.
“We’re not seen or heard a lot because we’re behind the scenes. When nobody notices us that means we’ve done a good job … and because of that, a lot of folks have forgotten about us.”
As music artists continue to find different ways to generate some kind of income, live event workers are still having trouble finding work. Tom Lohman, the vice president of Odyssey Lighting in Michigan also spoke with NBC to share his thoughts on the issue.
“We’ve talked about artists and they’re doing concerts from their kitchens … and hotels and airlines and restaurant workers, they’re all getting back to some kind of normal and at least able to generate some sort of revenue.” He continues, “But for us, if we can’t put 1,000 people or 20,000 people in an arena safely, we have no work.”
The Call for Federal Relief
The entertainment industry predicts that shows will be unable to return until 2021. However, there is no guarantee that they will come back this early. In addition, nobody knows what events will look like when they do return. This is a huge concern for many production workers.
Many former live event employees have had to rely on unemployment to survive. However, there is fear that when this benefit ends, they would need to go through a complete career change. This may be complicated as well; the pandemic made it difficult for anyone to find reliable work.
Live event workers are begging for continued financial relief as concerts are still put on hold. Many are uncertain of what they will do once their financial relief comes to an end.