By Dave Brooks, Billboard | A coalition of the top concert promoters, venue managers and show producers have joined forces to request federal aid for the live entertainment industry as it faces an existential crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billboard obtained a copy of the memo, which calls on Congress to expand the Paycheck Protection Act to entertainment companies with 500 or fewer employees, as well as an expansion of loans to mid-sized businesses under the CARES Act and the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending program.
“Our businesses were the first to close and will be the last to reopen,” reads the memo, dated April 2020, which lists 19 organizations as signatories including AEG, Live Nation and The Broadway League. “Without immediate financial assistance, the future of the public entertainment and event industry is in question. Accordingly, Congress must act now to address the severe impact that governmental closures orders have had on this industry.”
The letter, which is not signed by any individual executives at any of the listed companies, also lists Feld Entertainment, Spectra Venue Management and VenuWorks, as well as race and triathlon organizers connected to The Ironman Group and The Spartan Group as signatories. “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,” it continues.
The events industry has been brutalized by the economic shutdown that followed the COVID-19 crisis, with events facing unilateral cancellation through nearly all of North America and many companies facing the possibility of going an entire year without any revenue.
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The group is the second live entertainment effort to lobby Congress for financial assistance. Early this month, a coalition of more than 800 independent building owners and promoters formed the National Independent Venue Association to lobby for assistance.
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Billboard reached out to several organizations listed as signatories of the letter, who confirmed its authenticity but opted not to comment at this time.