A number of United States music venues and live event professionals are rallying behind the #RedAlertRESTART campaign, which aims to prompt congressional action on the RESTART Act.
Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the RESTART Act back in May, and a bipartisan coalition of 53 other senators cosponsored the legislation. Nevertheless, the bill, which proposes extending Paycheck Protection Plan (PPP) loans’ repayment windows for certain businesses and offering new federal loans yet, has since been stuck in committee. If signed into law as written, RESTART would issue eligible recipients (businesses that employ 5,000 or fewer full-time team members and suffered a 25 percent or greater dip in year-over-year revenue) low-interest loans that needn’t be paid upon for two years.
And with many states continuing to prohibit crowd-based concerts in an effort to minimize COVID-19’s spread, it goes without saying that more than a few venues require an influx of capital to stay afloat. More broadly, Britain allowed socially distanced concerts to resume earlier this month, but the Music Venue Trust (MVT) indicated “that the vast majority of grassroots music venues are not financially able…to deliver these newly permitted events.” Even when the majority of stateside music venues are allowed to reopen, they may not have the means (financially and in terms of size, given the six-foot distancing requirement) to begin welcoming back fans.
Now, an array of venues, live event professionals, fans, and others are voicing their support for the #RedAlertRESTART initiative. Designed to spur congressional action on the RESTART Act and federal-unemployment benefits, the We Make Events-organized campaign calls for participants to illuminate their businesses and/or homes with a red light between 9 PM and 12 AM local time tomorrow, September 1st. Then, these individuals and businessowners are encouraged to upload photographs of the red-light scenes (or red-tinted images) to social media, under the #RedAlertRESTART and #WeMakeEvents hashtags.
In a testament to the reach of #RedAlertRESTART – as well as the precarious financial situation and uncertain future of U.S. music venues and their employees – a multitude of entities and artists have already backed the movement. We Make Events is identifying these supporters, including an array of venues, actor and artist Billy Bob Thornton, REO Speedwagon bassist Bruce Hall, Alice Cooper, Barry Manilow, and others. Venues interested in being plugged on the initiative’s Facebook page can fill out an application here.
Moments ago, Senator Bennet reiterated his commitment to passing the RESTART Act, writing: “I’ll keep working in Congress to pass this bill and save our beloved venues.” However, the message doesn’t contain any updates about the legislation’s path to a vote.