Music venues in more than 50 US cities will be lighting up red tonight (September 1) to urge Congress to pass the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (or RESTART) Act.
If enacted, the RESTART Act would provide additional financial assistance to American small businesses by extending the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to keep workers employed during the coronavirus pandemic. It also offers eligible businesses partially forgivable loans. The bill was introduced by Democratic Senator for Colorado Michael Bennet.
The #RedAlertRESTART campaign is organised by the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which organised a similar event in the UK and last month.
- READ MORE: UK live events industry takes part in ‘Red Alert Day’ to call for sustained government support
Participating venues will cover their premises in red lighting between 9pm and midnight in their respective time zones on the evening. Venues that have signed on to the campaign include San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum. According to a promotional video, #WeMakeEvents expects at least 1,500 venues, buildings and spaces to participate.
In a statement, reported by Billboard, #WeMakeEvents North American director Brad Nelms said venues still remain at risk of permanent closure without additional help.
“The entire live events industry is on the brink of collapse. Without financial relief, many businesses stand to permanently close, and families risk bankruptcy and homelessness,” he said.
“We want to take this opportunity to show the world the scale of what it takes to make live entertainment events happen and demonstrate how much this crisis has affected our community.
“This is a human issue, not a political issue, and it requires immediate action. While we realise there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organisations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry.”
The campaign also supports the extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in the US, which provides unemployment benefits to individuals who were previously unable to apply for those benefits, such as self-employed workers and independent contractors.