OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – It has been seven months since the COVID-19 pandemic started. On Tuesday #WeMakeEvents, a coalition of trade bodies, businesses, unions, and live events workers, lit up their venues, homes, and cities red in over 1500 locations across North America to raise public and media awareness in support of the live events sector.
Visit Ogden, the Ogden Downtown Alliance, Weber State University, Weber County and Ogden City participated in the #WeMakeEvents Red Light Alert Restart national event by lighting up the Ogden Eccles Conference Center, Peery’s Egyptian Theater, The Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts, and the Ogden Amphitheater in red from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. on September 1, 2020, in support of the live event industry.
Kim Bowsher, executive director of the Ogden Downtown Alliance stated, “The Ogden Downtown Alliance recognizes the measured and immeasurable importance of live events in our local community. Events provide an opportunity for people to see themselves in a community, and the varied ways we can learn and inspire when gathered together. We recognize an immediate economic loss to our local brick and mortar businesses so often held together by the foot traffic events can provide and we recognize an even larger, unaccounted loss in the sense of connection and community engagement and care. While we understand the health concerns and are being as responsible as possible in this time, we have deep concerns over the artistry and the magic we are losing as people turn away from these endeavors. Events and the talent, producers, entertainers, and staff at large that make them happen to need support. They need real pathways to succeed and to stay in this industry now, and into the future, as live events slowly regain traction in what we are still working towards as a new normal.”
Officials say the live events industry employs more than 12 million people and contributes more than $1 trillion annually to the US economy. they added that 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages and 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income.
“Live events are vital. They bring our community together to share common ideas and to help us celebrate our proudest moments. The pandemic has brought our industry to a standstill.” Said Jim Craig, director of the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts. He went on to say, “We were the first to shut down and will be the last to start up. Unable to practice their craft, the artists, designers, technicians, and support personnel that work on these live events are out of work. We don’t know when this will change and they will again be able to support their families. Please urge Congress to support eh RESTART Act.”