This Upcoming Live Event is Closed to the Public
On Thursday, December 17, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., North Loop events venue Aria will be set up for an event with tables, chairs, lights, decor, lighting, and sound. No one is invited to attend.
Minneapolis is one of several cities nationwide hosting “eventless” installations in 2020 in an effort to highlight the state of the events industry and gain government support for live event industry professionals. As one of the industries hardest and longest hit by the pandemic due to gathering restrictions, the live events companies and its nearly 12 million nationwide workers are asking Congress for help surviving the crisis: for extensions and enhancements to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) so that live events professionals can sustain their livelihoods and have an industry to return to after the pandemic subsides.
The upcoming installation at Aria, named the “Northern Lights Empty Event Installation,” is being hosted by the Minnesota branch of the Live Events Coalition (LEC)–a volunteer organization created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to provide advocacy, resources, and a network for live event industry professionals–as well as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 13 and a number independent live event workers.
The live events industry is wide-reaching, often working in tandem with the travel and tourism, hospitality, nonprofit, entertainment, arts, music, sporting, and food and beverage groups. According to a 2017 US Bureau of Economic Analysis report, live events generate $12.2 billion in Minnesota and contribute more than $1 trillion to the US economy in direct and indirect spending.
“The live events industry is on the brink of bankruptcy,” said Wendy Porter, owner of Minneapolis-based Wendy Porter Events LLC and founder of the Minnesota Live Events Coalition. “Our people are experiencing lost work, wages, and uncertainty.”
In November, the nationwide Live Events Coalition sent out a survey which found that more than 80 percent of live events businesses have lost 60 to 100 percent of their revenues in 2020 and more than 80 percent of live events employees have been laid off or furloughed.
“We know that Congress cannot (and will not) make us whole. We just need a bridge,” Porter said. “And we need it now.”
State branches of the Live Events Coalition have held similar installations all across the country, including at Times Square in New York City and the National Mall in Washington, DC.