Pittsburgh buildings will light up red tonight in support of the struggling live events industry | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh buildings will light up red tonight in support of the struggling live events industry

From The August Wilson African American Cultural Center Downtown to Heinz Field on the North Side, to Black Forge Coffee House in Allentown, Pittsburgh city buildings will be lit up red tonight as part of RedAlert. The event is part of #WeMakeEvents, a collective of trade bodies, businesses, unions, and live events workers who have come together to raise public awareness about the economic plight of the live events industry.

When the buildings are lit up from 9 p.m.-midnight, Pittsburgh will join more than 1,500 locations in over 60 North American cities that will light buildings in red (in their local time) in hopes to urge congress to pass the RESTART Act as well as extend PUA and FPUC to provide financial assistance to unemployed and 1099 workers.

RedAlert was inspired by a similar call to action in the U.K. on Aug. 11, when hundreds of venues turned their lights red, along with other creative activities that were staged in over 20 cities across the U.K., to symbolize the live events and entertainment industry going into red alert. Like the U.S., without the help of the government, their entertainment sector is on the verge of financial collapse.

Since the onset of the pandemic and the ensuing shutdowns in March,
Projection, Lights & Staging News reports that thousands of events have been canceled, 77% of the people in the industry have lost 100% of their income, 96% of companies have cut staff, and 97% of 1099 workers have lost their jobs.

"The entire live events industry is on the brink of collapse. Without financial relief, many businesses stand to permanently close, and families risk bankruptcy and homelessness," says Brad Nelms, director of #WeMakeEvents North America in a press release. "We want to take this opportunity to show the world the scale of what it takes to make live entertainment events happen and demonstrate how much this crisis has affected our community. This is a human issue, not a political issue, and it requires immediate action. While we realize there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organizations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry."

The U.S. Bureau Of Economic Analysis estimated that the live events industry generates $877 billion in revenue each year. If that industry fails, the economic effects will be farther reaching than just those in entertainment.

"I know that many of my colleagues, whether they be 'behind the scenes' or 'in front of the scene' have experienced serious hardship," says Andy Ostrowski, a local lighting designer and stage hand. "This crosses from theater, to dance, to music, to administrations. As you probably recognize the whole industry of live entertainment has been stopped. Completely. I know several of my personal friends who have been battling with depression. Several of my friends who have been in therapy had changed their prescriptive medications during this time period."

So how can you help? There are a few different ways:
  • Contact representatives using the 'Action' network widget at wemakeevents.org
  • Post a red-tinted photo of your favorite live event to your social media with the following caption: #RedAlertRESTART: the live events we love may never recover from the pandemic, we need to take action!
  • Check out the hashtag #RedAlertRESTART and share/RT images of venues and live events workers you love.

Participating Pittsburgh buildings:
Allegheny County Courthouse
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center
Ben Peoples Industries
Black Forge Coffee House
Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
Carnegie Science Center
Club Café
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Downtown Cultural District
Fifth Avenue Place
The Gulf Tower
Heinz Field
Heinz Hall
Hunt Library
Hughie’s Event Production Services
Koppers Building
Lightwave International
Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center
Mr. Smalls Theatre
The Pittsburgh City-County Building
The Pittsburgh Playhouse
PPG Paints Arena
Purnell Center for the Arts
The Rex Theater
River Vue Apartments Building
The Roxian Theater
Stage AE
Theater Square Garage
Three Rivers Entertainment & Production
Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall
Vincent Lighting Systems.

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