Breaking News
More () »

Knoxville Breaking News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WBIR.com

Entertainment venues campaign for more relief funding as millions go without work

No live music means performers, audio engineers, production crews, ticket collectors, food vendors and everyone else involved in an event is without income.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A lot of people haven't been to a concert in months, which means a lot concerts haven't happened in months.

"I believe it was like a Dave Matthews cover band like second week of April maybe?" said Sam McAteer, marketing manager at Open Chord in West Knoxville.

That was the last live show at the venue before the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on concerts.

Until then, Open Chord got about 70 percent of its business from live shows.

They have a music shop to fall back on, but McAteer knows not everyone's that lucky.

"They're all struggling. They're having a hard hard time," he said.

Theaters and concert venues are getting creative to keep money coming in so they can stay afloat.

The Tennessee Theatre offered professional photo sessions on its stage.

The Bijou Theatre is offering people to share their own custom messages on their famous marquee for a donation.

Bluegrass artist Evie Andrus said performers are doing better than venues.

She and many other local musicians started doing a lot of live streamed performances online, as well as small pop up performances on porches and lawns.

Musician Travis Bigwood started shooting music videos from home with his band, Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves.

Bigwood said showing support to your favorite bands and venues can come in a lot of ways.

"People like me, we're not out here just raking in royalty money from streams or YouTube or anything like that," he said. "A share for us sometimes does more than a dollar."

Musicians are hurting, but those in production may be hurting most.

"It's not just us performers," said Andrus. "Food, cleaners, the people that take your tickets, like all of that entertainment industry has just kind of crumbled."

That's why artists and venues across the country are participating in an online campaign called #RedAlertRESTART.

Organized by the group #WeMakeEvents, venues lit up their iconic stages red to bring awareness and jump-start relief for the live events industry.

"We need industry workers, venues, fans, and artists to all unite for the cause of saving the places we love," the group wrote on their website.

The goal is to get congress to fund S.3814 known as the Restart Act for small businesses, and to ask them to continue and expand Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation  for displaced workers.

#WeMakeEvents reported live events employ over 12 million people, but 95 percent of live events have been canceled due to COVID-19.

According to their data, 77% of people in the live events industry have lost all of their income.

Andrus also suggests buying music and merchandise from your favorite local artists, and supporting your favorite venues through donations or buying gift certificates.

Many in the music industry ask that people adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines so they can get back to making memories and inspiring people with music.