In an effort to rally support for the countless music venues impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of buildings across the U.S. — from New York’s Empire State Building to Seattle’s Space Needle — were illuminated in red light on Tuesday evening (Sept. 1).

The main goal of the effort, which was led by We Make Events North America, was to encourage Congress to pass the Restart Act, which would provide much-needed assistance for the live-entertainment industry and other businesses devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We Make Events NA estimates that, including the buildings that didn’t officially sign on to the participation list, the number of buildings involved estimated close to 2,500, while the official number is 2,088,” says Brad Nelms, national director for We Make Events North America.

The official list includes buildings, iconic structures and private residences in 75 cities in 41 states, plus Trinidad & Tobago; more than 200 people gathered in New York’s Times Square in a public display of support that included dozens of road cases (signifying the live-entertainment business).
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Event workers join in solidarity in front of road cases at the We Make Events rally in Times Square Mark Doyle

The industry has rallied around NIVA, the now 2,600-member National Independent Venue Association, which hired the powerful lobbying firm Akin Gump, and Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn authored the Save Our Stages act, requested $10 billion in relief for independent venues.

However, despite a letter signed by everyone from Billie Eilish to Billy Porter to Billy Joel and more than 1.6 million emails sent to legislators, Save Our Stages was just one of many pieces of legislation left of the table as Congress went into recess last month. The need remains dire, as venues will be among the last businesses to reopen when the pandemic finally recedes.  (Here are several ways you can help.)

While numbers were not available at the time of this article’s publication, more than 1,500 venues from all across the country had signed on to support the effort, and the results could be seen across YouTube and social media. Posted below are photos and reports from New York, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and many more. See a collection of photos and videos below

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Last night, the live events industry stepped into the spot light. More than 2000 venues, buildings, architectural structures, arenas, businesses and homes glowed red to sound the alarm. Just sixteen days ago, a coalition of creative and determined industry leaders joined forces to raise awareness of the plight of millions of individuals out of work with no relief in sight. More than 5000 letters to Congress were generated by our website alone. But our work is not done yet. Keep writing. Keep calling. Keep sharing. Keep tagging. Until the RESTART Act is passed and there is an extension and expansion of PUA and FPUC, our work goes on. www.wemakeevents.org 📷: @siglivetoeat

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Pamela Chelin

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event workers join in solidarity in front of road cases at the We Make Events rally in Times Square Mark Doyle
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Avalon in Los Angeles Pamela Chelin


“Two weeks ago, we set a crazy goal,” We Make Events North America chair Marcel Fairbairn says in a press release. “To light 1,500 locations in red to bring awareness to our industry’s cause, and to help all small businesses by pushing the Restart Act. We have exceeded our expectations, and as of this morning, we’re officially over 1,500 reported.”