Michael Strickland – an honoree onPollstar
’sImpact 50 list
for 2020 – has penned an urgent letter to the live entertainment industry, deeming July 16 D-Day for those businesses hoping to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and urging everyone concerned about the future of the industry to rally for a second round of PPP funding and a system of low-interest, long-term loans.
“In the last four months I have gotten to know many of you. I have made hundreds of new friends. I have heard your wants, needs, concerns and fears,” Strickland writes. “We have become like the soldiers in the landing crafts headed to Omaha Beach on D Day. The recent time together has made us one, and we are all staring at the cliffs on the beach ahead wondering how we survive. Together. So, all we have at this exact moment is each other and the strength of our size. Our time together has made us one, and in the next 10 days what we do will determine our fate. Together, we win. You know that. I know that. We know that. But we must all work in unison to achieve our goals and succeed.
“Congress will be in session July 20 to August 8. In this session it is their intention to deliver the 4th and final COVID 19 Relief Bill. There will most likely be no more federal relief. Our industry needs two important items: Another round of PPP and a system of low interest long term loans, or Grants. Both items have been on the table and in discussion for weeks. There is bipartisan support for both, and all parties seem to indicate something will be worked out.”
He goes on to write that the issues of Liability Indemnity and the extension of Enhanced Unemployment (which may end up being around $400 per week) are being considered in the next meeting of congress, but other industries with large lobbying arms are fighting those fights.
To take action to ensure the survival of many live entertainment companies, he calls on all in the industry to send a letter from the National Association of Music Merchants (which can be found below) to write to theirSenators and Congresspeople
, filling in their own identification information where appropriate, and also to send representatives a PDF letter from NAMM. The PDF can be foundhere
. He urges people, when possible, to contact their senators through their Chief of Staff and Legislative Director.
Dear (fill in Senator and/or staffer name):
I write to bring your attention to challenges facing the live event industry and to urge the inclusion of targeted relief for the industry as Congress considers additional coronavirus relief measures this month.
Live event venues were among the first to close and will likely be the last to reopen. Workers in the live event sector were among the first to have their jobs disrupted, and they will be among the last to return to their jobs. By its very nature, live events work cannot be done from home. In recent decades, a significant and growing share of employment and economic activity has come from the business of “getting people together.” Live event venues — many of which are owned by local governments – generate millions in tax revenue and sustain jobs in communities across the country. Restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and other local businesses also directly benefit from the hundreds of millions of concerts, theater, festival, fair and eventgoers who attend millions of events each year. Events, both commercial and nonprofit, are central to our individual and collective identity. Live performance venues and the artists and workers in the industry are the lifeblood of the cultural and social identity of our neighborhoods. Social distancing, capacity limitations and other restrictions mean that the live event industry will not recover in any meaningful way until next year, and likely not until summer or later. It is impossible to operate in a viable manner at low capacity.
We appreciate the leadership Congress has shown by providing vital, short-term assistance with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), expanding unemployment insurance eligibility to “gig” workers and the self-employed, and extending other relief. Businesses such as the live event industry that are facing prolonged closure, however, need additional help.
Due to the unique circumstances of our industry, we support industry-specific federal assistance through payroll support, tax relief, and loan guarantees. Allowing the hardest hit businesses with demonstrated losses to receive a second PPP loan would help, as would the bipartisan “RESTART Act” (S. 3814), which proposes seven-year, low-interest loans with deferred interest and principal repayments.