ORLANDO, Fla. - Pop sensation Billie Eilish packed the Amway Center on March 10, marking the last sell-out crowd. It was also one of the last events at the arena before it was shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More than 1,000 venues across the country, including the Amway Center and others in Central Florida, will light up red on Tuesday night to bring awareness to how the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered the live events industry.
The #RedAlertRESTART campaign aims to illuminate 1,500 buildings across America.
Due to COVID-19, the live events industry has been hit hard, putting millions of people out of work.
“Ushers, ticket takers, security guards. You’re thinking about runners, stagehands, lighting technicians, catering companies,” explained Allen Johnson, Orlando Venues Chief Officer. “We’re here today to remind you about them and to urge congress and our governments to take action to support them because they were left out of a lot of the incentive packages.”
Once a robust $35 billion industry, Johnson said the live events business was the first to close and will be the last to reopen.
Since the start of the pandemic, at the Amway Center alone, 17 concerts have been postponed, five concerts canceled, 10 regular season Orlando Magic games and plus two playoff games canceled, and five Solar Bear games and two playoff games canceled, seven Predators games canceled. Plus several high school graduations at the arena were canceled along with a religious even, and a tennis event.
At Camping World Stadium, the sold-out BTS concert and the Def Leopard-Motley Crew concert that was expected to sell out also got postponed.
That is why on Tuesday evening, the Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, and eight other Central Florida venues are to be lit up in red lights taking part in the worldwide event.
The goal is to raise public awareness that the live events industry is on red alert for its very survival and create congressional pressure to act.
Johnson said the people who create legendary experiences at their venues need help.
“Right now, we need to help those legendary playmakers that are our partners get some relief,” he said.
Major live event venues the first doors closed by the pandemic and are expected to be the last ones to re-open.
“That doesn’t look like it’s going to get back active again until 2021. It’s six months right now; it could be a year before these folks get back to work, and we’re really concerned about their well-being,” said Johnson.
The North American event comes on the heels of the August 11 event #WeMakeEvents Red Alert Day Of Action when over 700 buildings were lit in red across the United Kingdom, calling attention to the same plight facing the live events industry there.
Watch FOX 35 News at 5 p.m. for more on this story.