The TaxSlayer Center in Moline will join with live-music venues across the U.S. Tuesday to literally or virtually light their facilities in red to promote passage of more federal financial assistance, covering lost income due to the pandemic.

Spearheaded by the #WeMakeEvents coalition, the #RedAlertRESTART campaign seeks to bring awareness to the dire situation live music faces if Capitol Hill does not supply support for venues that have been shuttered since mid-March to slow the spread of Covid, according to a recent piece in Billboard.

On Tuesday night, the venues are encouraged to be lit red to highlight that the live events industry is “on red alert for its survival.” The effort is lobbying for continuation and extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to provide relief to those without work due to Covid-19.

The TaxSlayer Center plan is to post red-tinted photos on social media, in support of industry peers, as outlined on the wemakeevents.org site, arena executive director Scott Mullen said Monday.

“There are a lot of entities in the music business that have taken a massive financial hit since last March, and we are no exception,” he said, “but at the same I don’t know how long the government can continue giving out trillions of dollars without significantly devaluing future U.S. currency.”

“It’s a real dilemma with no easy solution,” said Mullen, who is director of arenas for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). With the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), they’re strongly promoting the “Save Our Stages” Act in Congress.

It seeks $10 billion in grants for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives, and recipients must have fewer than 500 full-time employees.

“Hopefully vaccine and treatment development progresses rapidly in the coming months, so we can get back to a thriving entertainment industry for everyone’s financial and social well-being, and in the meantime get some relief gets to those in this industry who need it most,”

The Peoria Civic Center on Monday posted this red-tinted photo on Facebook.

Mullen said.

The Peoria Civic Center said on Facebook it would be lit red on Tuesday, supporting both the Restart Act (S. 3814) and Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258), to help ensure the survival of independent venues, theatres, and event promoters across the nation.

“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,” said Brad Nelms, director of WeMakeEvents North America, in a release.

“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,” he said.

The TaxSlayer Center is among music venues nationwide to promote increased federal assistance due to the pandemic.

“This is a human issue, not a political issue, and it requires immediate action,” Nelms said in the release. “While we realize there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organizations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry.”

According to WeMakeEvents,

  • Live events employ over 12 million people.
  • Live events contribute over $1 trillion annually to the U.S. economy.
  • 95% of live events have been cancelled due to Covid-19.
  • 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages.
  • 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers.

On Tuesday, the coalition of trade bodies, businesses, unions, and live events workers will light up their venues, homes, and cities red in over 1,500 locations across North America to raise public and media awareness in support of the live events sector.

“Like so many other businesses, we have been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mullen of the Moline arena has said. “We were among the first to close, and we will be among the last to re-open.

The Adler Theatre, after “Book of Mormon” in June 2018.

“We face enormous challenges keeping our operation going with no revenue streams from events and to date we have not been included in any government relief funding, PPP or CARES Act legislation.

“There will also be an expensive price tag for Covid-19 related improvements like disinfecting and temperature monitoring equipment as well as converting to a touch-less experience throughout the building wherever possible, by converting to automatic sinks, flush valves, mobile concession ordering, etc.,” Mullen said of the 27-year-old arena.

Heather Brummel, associate executive director of River Center / Adler Theatre, said Monday the Adler doesn’t have the ability to change lighting colors outside of the venue. “We are exploring opportunities, in terms of sharing the message, however,” she said.

Unlike the TaxSlayer Center, the theater at 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, plans to reopen in October, after being closed since March.

The Adler will use a new map with social distanced seating. Instead of the 2,411 seats, they will have a maximum 25-percent capacity, or 620 patrons.

The Beatles vs. Stones (Oct. 20) and QCSO Masterworks concerts will be their first events using the map, Brummel said. The Adler plans to have previously rescheduled shows in September move to 2021.

“We’ll have timed entry. Masks are required for ingress/egress and while walking through common areas,” she said by e-mail. For more information, visit adlertheatre.com.

Tyson Danner

Tyson Danner, executive director of River Music Experience, Davenport, said Monday they wouldn’t be adding lights Tuesday, though their building is literally the Redstone.

Music fans can help the red-alert effort by the following:

  • Post a red-tinted photo of your favorite live event to your social media with the following caption:

#RedAlertRESTART: the live events we love may never recover from the pandemic, we need to take action! Take 2 minutes to contact your representatives here, and post a red photo of you at your favorite event, too: https://wemakeevents.org.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.