Live entertainment workers calling on lawmakers for financial help

Posted at 8:41 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 23:37:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Most music has been put on pause here in Music City during the COVID-19 pandemic. Big concert workers say they were the first to close and will be the last to open, which is why they're asking lawmakers on all levels for help.

"Keep the show rolling," that’s the message gig workers are sending to the powers that be as they paraded throughout downtown Nashville streets.

"It was to draw attention to the live entertainment workers, the people typically behind the scenes, in the shadows, in silence being vocal about their need," said Chris Lisle, organizer and production designer.

It was just months ago when concerts at Bridgestone or the Ascend Amphitheater drew in large crowds. But COVID-19 has canceled those plans putting thousands of people out of work.

"It’s been tough, live entertainment for the past decade or two has been such a fast-moving train and it’s just been busy, and that train it just stopped in early March," said Lisle, who says it’s not a shutdown only affecting musicians.

"It starts with truck and bus drivers, but you got lighting technicians, audio technicians, video technicians, set constructors, riggers and crew people."

Lisle says they need help.

"We need unemployment to be extended at the higher rates, we need further paycheck protection loans, we need help and it’s not just about the people it's about the companies in this industry too; they're struggling just as well."

Because in the end, they want the music to play again and they want to be able to survive.

"Seeing phases re-open is great, but it’s going to take some significant changes with vaccines or quick testing to really get arenas, stadiums back open. To do the full concert experiences," said Lisle.

Also hundreds of venues, monuments, and buildings across North America are lit up red to draw attention to the impact COVID-19 has placed on the live events industry.