Leaders from the live event industry sent a letter to President Joe Biden Tuesday offering their venues, staff, and expertise to the COVID-19 vaccination effort.
“It’s human nature to come together in good times and bad, and our industry is committed to doing everything in our power to bring people together again — not just for events, but for every aspect of community that we have been missing,” said Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Beverly Hills-based Live Nation Entertainment.
“Live Nation has venues across the country that are capable of managing critical onsite elements of the vaccine rollout and we are eager to pitch in and be part of the solution,” he said.
In addition to Live Nation, the letter was co-signed by officials with Los Angeles-based AEG, Bandit Lites, Broadway League, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, International Association of Venue Managers, National Association of Music Merchants, National Independent Talent Organization, National Independent Venue Association, Oak View Group and We Make Events.
Industry officials said they’re in a unique position to help, with the pandemic having fully shuttered operations, leaving venues empty and the furloughed crowd-management oriented staff who operate them eager to help out and get back to work.
“Since the pandemic shuttered our industry almost a year ago, our buildings and our co-workers have been paused, unutilized and struggling,” said Dayna Frank, owner and CEO of First Avenue Productions and the board president of the National Independent Venue Association. “These vaccines are our best chance at putting COVID-19 behind us, and our experiences organizing events and managing crowds now put us in the unique position of being the best prepared and most qualified industry to support the vaccination effort and get this country on the road to recovery.”
Several live music venues in the Los Angeles area have been utilized in the fight against COVID-19, either as testing centers or vaccination sites. The Forum in Inglewood is currently in use as one of Los Angeles County’s five large-scale vaccination centers.
The group letter to Biden states, in part: “Dear Mr. President … As you set about achieving the ambitious goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in 100 days, we wish to offer the full support and resources of the live event industry. We share your vision of expedient, equitable, and widespread vaccine distribution. It is our duty, as businesses rooted in communities across the nation, to do our part to set America on a positive path during this time of crisis. We stand ready to work with Federal and State governments to save lives and get America back to work and school.
“We represent businesses, workers and entertainers that make up the majority of the live event industry. While we have been effectively shuttered by the pandemic, we have vast resources that, if fully utilized, could provide invaluable mechanisms in our country’s vaccine distribution. In fact because we are shuttered, we are able to offer the full weight of our industry to support vaccine distribution beginning immediately.”
The letter goes on to say that the live events industry is one of the “best prepared, best equipped, most experienced industries in America to manage and control large crowds in a rapid, organized fashion. Moving people in, out, and around a public gathering space swiftly and safely, is the foundation of our industry. Additionally, our familiarity using ticketing systems for advanced notification, timed entry and crowd management can greatly improve patient experience before and during vaccination as well as on-site management.”
The group says “there are several thousand companies in the live event industry which own the equipment and infrastructure required to build vaccination sites. An estimated 95% of live events industry businesses and workers have lost nearly 100% of their revenue, and are ready and willing to get to work immediately.”
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