SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Not once but twice during the pandemic, Utahns who work live events have found themselves unemployed during the busiest time of the year. Usually, these workers find themselves quite busy this time of year during the Sundance film festival.
Now two years in a row, Utah’s premier film industry event has been moved online, which stopped all the event activity in its tracks. But some of the people are not taking being out of work quietly, banding together, heading to Capitol Hill, and trying to make their voices heard.
The association is asking that the remaining funds from the American Rescue Plan of 2021 be applied to support the live events industry. The goal is to make sure these state businesses get represented for their losses from the last two years.
Honu Hillier, a local stage manager tells ABC4, “It’s $88 million in lost wages when there is no Sundance. It’s the vendors, it’s The Cabin in Park City that has concerts and events. We love Sundance, We love Silicon Slopes, we don’t blame them.”
One thing they are focused on is improved equity for grants compared to the past. Dustin Moss, a live event specialist says, “Since the grants got given out unevenly, those companies have the capital to buy new gear and not rent from us. Then we lose that business on top of having to pay a loan for 30 years, so the equality is not the same for sure.”
Other focuses are on payroll support, business support, and working capital, to balance the continued uncertainty, and mitigate losses. So far it seems things are headed in the right direction.
“It’s a work in progress, just got to meet the right people had a meeting today on how to set up the whole system and distribute the funds. We’re trying to get something by next week’s meetings.” Hillier hopes that the funding the Utah live events industry can bounce back – that when live events are back, they are ready to face them stronger than ever.