Some of America’s largest live event producers and venue organizations continue to come together to further push the Federal Government for financial aid and general direction as the country-wide shutdown of concerts, festivals, sporting events, and theatrical productions continues for the third consecutive month heading into May with no end in sight.
According to a report shared by Billboard on Tuesday, 19 major companies from across the country including Live Nation, AEG, The Broadway League, Feld Entertainment, Spectra Venue Management, VenuWorks, The Spartan Group, Endurance Sports Coalition, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, International Association of Fairs and Expositions, International Association of Venue Managers, National Association of Theater Owners, the Society of Independent Show Organizers, and more have collectively penned a letter to Congress asking for more monetary aid in support of the live music and entertainment industry as a whole. Aside from professional sports, the live music and theater industries likely have the toughest time getting started again when society begins to return to normal hopefully by later this year or possibly sometime in 2021.
The letter, dated “April 2020” and not signed by any specific individual, is reportedly calling for Congress to expand the Paycheck Protection Act for entertainment-focused companies that carry 500 or fewer employees, along with an expansion of loans to mid-sized businesses under the CARES Act and the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending program. Additionally, the group is also asking the Centers for Disease Control and Federal Emergency Management Association to help establish voluntary guidelines that can be implemented by venues to help the reopening process in the safest and most effective way going forward.
“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 event industry is in question,” the letter reads. “Congress and the insurance industry must establish a Business Recovery Fund for the public entertainment and event industry, modeled on the 9-11 Victims fund, to aid the businesses and their employees that were forced to shut down due to COVID-19 and will continue to struggle even after the economy restarts.”
“Many insurance carriers have pre-emptively asserted that property damage and event cancellation policies will not provide coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter continues in stating. “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 report does point out that this is the second attempt from a group of major entertainment event-based organizations to ask the Federal Government for help to stay afloat during this global health crisis, following the communal efforts of National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) earlier this month.
Both AEG and Live Nation have already rolled out their updated ticket refund policy for their concert events which have been announced as postponed. Live Nation has also since received a private bail-out as the major concert production giant confirmed earlier this week that the government of Saudi Arabia has purchased over $500 million worth of stock in the company, amounting to a roughly 5.7% ownership stake.