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US music venues to turn red to support RESTART Act

More than 1,500 music venues in the US will be lighting up red tonight (Tuesday) to show support for a bill that would provide additional financial assistance to small businesses.

The event, which is taking place across more than 50 US cities, is aiming to push Congress to pass the Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards A Recovery in Twenty-twenty (or RESTART) Act.

If passed, the legislation would extend the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which has been enacted to keep workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also offers eligible businesses partially forgivable loans.

The #RedAlertRESTART campaign is organised by the #WeMakeEvents campaign, which organised a similar event in the UK last month.

Venues, including San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, will illuminate their premises in red between 9pm and midnight.

#WeMakeEvents North American director Brad Nelms said, according to Billboard: “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.

“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 realise there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organisations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry.”

UK arts protests

Arts industry workers in the UK protested the more than 1,000 job cuts over the weekend outside the National Theatre.

Three major arts institutions – the Tate, the National Theatre and the Southbank Centre – have announced mass redundancies due to the pressures they are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is anticipated that up to 400 people will lose their jobs at both the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre, and more than 300 at the Tate.

A ticketing and membership worker from the Southbank Centre, said, according to the Guardian: “I’m getting a third of the redundancy pay that I’m owed, that’s about a month and a half’s rent and expenses for me.

“Now I’m going into a market with no jobs so it feels pretty callous and it’s been handled with a total lack of empathy. We’ve been treated with contempt. It’s like they actually hate us. You’d think that you were a scourge, but we’re the ones making the money.”

Image: Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Edited for size