US live events industry offers to help with coronavirus vaccination effort in letter to Joe Biden

A number of organisations have come together to offer their venues, staff, and expertise

A number of organisations in the US live events industry have come together in a bid to help with the coronavirus vaccination effort.

In a letter to President Joe Biden today (January 26), the likes of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), Live Nation, AEG and others have formally offered their venues, staff, and expertise to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The live events industry is in a unique position to help – the pandemic has fully shuttered operations, leaving venues empty and the furloughed crowd-management oriented staff who operate them eager to help out and get back to work.

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“Since the pandemic shuttered our industry almost a year ago, our buildings and our co-workers have been paused, un-utilised, and struggling,” said Dayna Frank, owner and CEO, First Avenue Productions and Board President of NIVA.

“These vaccines are our best chance at putting COVID-19 behind us, and our experiences organising events and managing crowds now put us in the unique position of being the best prepared and most qualified industry to support the vaccination effort and get this country on the road to recovery.”

Michael Rapino
Michael Rapino (centre) is among those appealing to Joe Biden to let the live events industry help out. CREDIT: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Live Nation’s president and CEO Michael Rapino added: “It’s human nature to come together in good times and bad, and our industry is committed to doing everything in our power to bring people together again – not just for events, but for every aspect of community that we have been missing.

“Live Nation has venues across the country that are capable of managing critical onsite elements of the vaccine rollout and we are eager to pitch in and be part of the solution.”

Explaining why the live events industry is best equipped to handle the volumes of people expected to take the vaccine, a press release said: “Venues are specifically designed for queuing and crowd control, and are located in most urban, suburban, and rural communities – often near transit lines or with easy access to parking. The interiors are wide and clear, with bright work lights and empty standard refrigeration systems.

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“Additionally, the inherent use of ticketing systems for advanced notification, timed entry, and crowd management in live events lends itself directly to managing this type of process.”

The full list of organisations offering their help is as follows: AEG, Bandit Lites, Broadway League, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Live Nation, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), Oak View Group (OVG), and We Make Events.

You can read the full letter to President Biden here.

Earlier this month, Isle Of Wight Festival boss John Giddings told NME about his plan for live crew workers and music venues to come together for a mass roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Giddings, who also works as a promoter and music agent, made his suggestion on Twitter on January 5, urging the UK Government to make the most of the skills of the thousands of event and live crew unable to work at present, as well as the countless music venues unable to open their doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

“I was lying in bed last night thinking: ‘Fuck all of this for a game of soldiers – why don’t I do something as opposed to waiting for people to tell me what to do?’ I sent out a tweet saying that I’ve got thousands of people who know what they’re doing and hundreds of empty venues and it’s created a snowstorm,” he told NME.

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