Hundreds of Road Crew + Venue Workers Take to the Streets for COVID-19 Relief
Hundreds of venue and road crew workers rolled road cases through the streets of Manchester, England today (Aug. 11) to raise awareness of the massive job loss they’re currently facing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of the globe, crippling the live entertainment industry. Many governments worldwide have enacted massive support packages for its citizens, including a £1.57 billion stimulus aimed at protecting England’s theaters, venues, galleries, cinemas, museums and more. Unfortunately, freelance workers were not covered by the bill.
The protest was organized by the Red Alert Movement and #WeMakeEvents, and over 300 venues — including London’s National Theatre and Royal Festival Hall — will turn their lights red in support for the workers. Artists who have supported the movement include Peter Gabriel, Imogen Heap and the Cure.
Among the marchers were producers, engineers, tour managers, security staff, truck drivers and cleaners, along with road crew and front-of-house workers.
"We're often behind the scenes —if we're seen it usually means something has gone wrong!" freelancer audio tech Alistair Westell told the BBC. "We try to stay in the background, and that's one of the reasons we've been forgotten."
"There's lighting, graphics, sound, video, rigging, staging… and then you've got the other side of it — the toilets and the catering for the audience, artists and crew. Then there's security — you often see security staff pulling people out of the crowd at the front when they're in trouble."
Watch footage of the Manchester march below.
As for the United States, the National Independent Talent Organization is attempting to push through the RESTART and Save Our Stages bi-partisan bills designed to aid music industry workers. RESTART supporters include ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NAMM, NIVA, Spotify, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, American Society of Travel Advisors, YouTube and hundreds of other organizations and artists.
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