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LEC Appeal for Keeping Ontario Venues Open

The Hon. Monte McNaughton MPP
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
777 Bay St. Toronto, ON M7A 2J3 
Tel.416-327-4300 Twitter: @MonteMcNaughton

The Hon. Christine Elliot MPP
Minister of Health
5th Floor, 777 Bay St. Toronto, ON M7A 2J3
Tel. 416-327-4300 Twitter: @celliottability

In March 2020, the live events industry was halted by social distancing and gathering restrictions. Event and show cancellations sidelined a hundred thousand Ontario live event workers, and venues have stood empty of audiences.

Many Ontario creators, producers and promoters have tried to adapt to this challenging situation, modifying their work to an online format. In this format, there is no in-person contact with audiences and limited support crew. Our industry has always prioritized safety, and our protocols include most, if not greater to those that already are approved for network broadcast and filming.

The current stay-at-home order punishes live event creators, promoters, and the people they employ, who have been following best practice covid-19 safety procedures but are forced to stop work once again. We ask you to swiftly make the necessary changes to the current state of affairs here in Ontario and bring back these much-needed online events.

These productions are aimed at online audiences and do not contribute to the spread of coronavirus. Online shows allow artists and creators to remain relevant, practice their craft and provide entertainment to an audience that is told to stay in their homes. It may also provide a minimum income to a limited amount of performers, crew, and venue staff. 

Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians have been legislated out of work in the Live Event Community. We have tried to be patient, we understand the need for Ontarians to be protected from covid-19, but this latest stay-at-home order as written will continue to negatively impact us and the stay-at-home audience. 

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.  

We are all in this together.

The Live Event Community

cc:
The Hon. Lisa MacLeod MPP, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries  @MacLeodLisa
The Hon. Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario   @fordnation

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Three things to do this April

Petition the Government

The Canadian government is drafting the federal budget this month, and it is critically important that they recognize our industries will need an extended round of financial support. Large-scale live events will not be viable for months, and many international events are postponed until 2022. The businesses, supply chain and workers of the event industries need continued support now, so that we have the capacity to restart quickly and safely when the time comes. If you’re in the live music industry, please fill out a letter to your MP at the Canadian Live Music Association, and re-tweet #ForTheLiveOfLive on your social channels. You can also use the letter generator at the Coalition for Hardest Hit Businesses.

#GMID2021 Lighting Up Blue

Light up blue this Thursday to support #GMID2021 and the Global Meetings industry.

LIGHTING UP BLUE – 8 April 2021Meetings Mean Business is asking destination marketing organizations and their partners across Canada to recognize Global Meetings Industry day by Lighting Up Blue local convention centres, off-site venues, galleries, museums, attractions, monuments and any other place people like to meet.

Our Glowing Hearts

In the News

CP24 Tonight hosts Reshmi Nair and Nick Dixon discuss the long road back for live events. Jeffrey Moss president of Moss LED in Toronto, and Rob Duncan of Live Event Community discuss the difficulties faced by the live event industries.

Thanks to Moss LED, a portion of every red heart sold will be donated to supporting live event workers and highlight your #LightUpLive #EclaironsLesScenes event last September.

Need help?

Through compassionate and confidential support, the AFC helps Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work. If you need support for your immediate financial obligations, please reach out, even if you do not meet the guidelines exactly.

The AFC helps Canadian entertainment professionals maintain their health, dignity and ability to work.

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Inconsistent lockdown protocols hamper live performing arts

On the thewholenote.com, author Paul Ennis writes about the devastating effect of closing live performance venues to non-audience activities under the current Ontario stay-at-home order.

Meanwhile, even though many TAPA member companies have temporarily shifted to hybrid theatre, dance and opera models that include livestreaming, pre-recorded film and digitization, “entertainment concert venues, theatres and cinemas (includes drive-in or drive-through events) [are] closed for all purposes, including rehearsing or performing a recorded or broadcasted event, artistic event, theatrical performance or other performance.” However, the letter points out, the Businesses Permitted to Open and Sector Specific Restrictions (14) have allowed film and television to continue to operate: commercial film and television production, including all supporting activities such as hair, makeup and wardrobe.”

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Newsletter

Newsletter – December 31 2020

‘Twas the night before year-end, and all through the land
Not a theatre was open, no props nor stagehand.

The audience was sent home, and so was the cast
The second wave of Covid arrived here so fast.

Since Springtime our gigs have been hung out to dry
For live event workers and business we cry.

On CERB cheque! On face mask! On 2 meter distance!
Now vaccine! Now restart! Now start a new project!

Although it’s been tough and a harsher reality
Know that you’re loved by your greater show family.

But let us exclaim, ere we close out the night—
“Happy New Year to all, and to all a bright light!”

with apologies to A Visit from St. Nicholas

As the final hours of 2020 wind down, we want to reach out to all of you – the live event community who have supported each other over the past 10 months – who lit up their office and home windows, arranged large installations and spread the word that our industry is alive and present, despite being closed for much of the year.

Many people have managed to get work in film, television, streaming or virtual events – this is heartening news, but it still doesn’t help most of the million Canadians who work or perform at music halls, cabarets, festivals, rodeos, theatres, convention centres and every other live event that is such an important part of the cultural and economic fabric of our country.

So, tonight we will hold up our red light, continuing to show that live events matter, and that we need the government to continue to provide support until the industry can safely restart. The news is full of photos ops of vaccinations, which should provide hope, but we know that there is much to be done, and that we will be the last to return.

Be strong, stay safe, wear a mask. Most of all, realize that when we can all gather again, it will be the biggest most raucous live event the world has ever seen, and it will need you – the event professionals of the world – to run it. 

Need help over the holidays?
Check out our mental health resources. Call someone, please.

International Update

  • 38 countries have engaged with We Make Events
  • Over 4800 buildings have been lit in red around the world
  • 15 countries have had direct meetings with their governments about supporting the industry
  • Numerous artists have supported our campaign by raising money and awareness

The Show Can’t Go On

Watch this beautiful counterpoint by Sam Bradford and Praxima, to Amazon’s “The Show Must Go On” video. Creative expression is important, but needs an entire industry to support it.

You can watch the Amazon commercial here.

Member Monday

Brent is a lighting and media designer who has worked throughout the entertainment industry for over 15 years. His Gingerbread Roadie stop-motion animation on social media received over 25,000 views in less than 2 weeks, and helped raise awareness and funds for the wemakeevents.org organization in the United States.

Thank You!

View our searchable indexed resources on our website: https://liveeventcommunity.org/resources

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Brent Sandrock

Brent is a lighting and media designer who has worked throughout the entertainment industry for over 15 years. He spent time video directing tours, programming lights for concerts, corporates, and cruise ships, and shooting and editing custom content with his company Creative Lumens, Inc. With a passion for music and the live event experience, Brent has always looked for ways to showcase the amalgam of art and technology that exists uniquely in this industry. He looks forward to once again experiencing the high we get when everything is set up, thousands of people are gathered together, and the show is about to start.

His Gingerbread Roadie stop-motion animation on social media received over 25,000 views in less than 2 weeks, and helped raise awareness and funds for the wemakeevents.org organization in the United States.

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Community

Mike Maclean

Mike has been working 38 years in the live entertainment industry.  He is a proud member of  IATSE Local 357 and is the Head Stage Electrician at Centre in the Square.  Currently, they are working a modified contract recording symphony concerts with drastically reduced hours.  Mike is also an Entertainer Motorcoach Fleet Owner.  COVID has forced to cancel the touring schedule completely for the past 8 months. Mike says “It has been tough to lay off staff, keep the fleet in good mechanical order, and keep current with expenses like insurance, taxes, etc.  But on the bright side, we have been able to expand our fleet in order to be ready for when our industry reopens.”   Mike has hope and looks forward to the day where we can be working together again!

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Community

Antony Kahil

Antony is from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has been in the entertainment industry for 7 years. Working from general AV to lighting/video. Antony now lives in Toronto and freelances for various companies pre-covid. He currently does lighting and video for live music, broadcast, and corporate events. Currently, Antony is waiting for the world to recover so the industry can get back to doing what we all love the most and that we so desperately miss.

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Community

Sabrina Mueller

Sabrina has an 18-year career in live events that has included both theatre and corporate events. She is currently the Operations Manager of the Pumphouse Theatres in Calgary and freelances as a Production Manager and Lighting Technician. The Pumphouse Theatres have a focus on education as well as supporting community, small and emerging organizations produce live events safely. Assisting the live events community to navigate safety, government regulation, and best working practices is something that is very important to Sabrina. This is why she joined the committee for the Calgary effort for #Lightuplive. Being able to draw attention to the size, scope of the impacted people, and supply chain for live events in Calgary was a privilege currently unparalleled in her career. There is currently no safe way to gather in large groups all we can do is work together to mitigate the risks of gathering, keep humanizing the statistics for our industry and support each other during these unusual times.

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Community

Debbie Richardson

Debbie has been a member of IATSE Local 680 since 1991. For the last 15 years, she has been the Call Steward for the Local, crewing shows like The Rolling Stones Bigger Bang Tour, the 2006 Juno Awards, numerous WE Day shows, several Cirque du Soleil shows, the annual Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, large and small corporate events as well as all shows at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Last year was the Local’s busiest year ever and 2020 was shaping up to be close to that volume. “The hardest thing about this shutdown has been the uncertainty of when people will be able to get back to work and just missing everyone,” Debbie says. Advocacy of the major entertainment unions has been pivotal in making sure that no one was left behind, and addressing flaws in the social safety net to government. This is especially important for workers who don’t fit in a normal work environment, such as live events where many are employed as “gig workers.”

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Community

Jennifer Hildebrandt

Jennifer is the Production/Admin Assistant at The Starlite Room/ConcertWorks and former Account Manager for NASCO – A production technical staffing company for venues and event properties across Canada. Jennifer’s accounts included Rogers Centre, Budweiser Stage, RBC Echo Beach, Veld, and the Living Arts Centre. Her current role with The Starlite Room/ConcertWorks has helped establish the company as a major contributor, influence, and facilitator in showcasing international, domestic, and local artists in the City of Edmonton and the Province of Alberta. Jennifer is one of the founding members of the Canadian Independent Venue Coalition (CIVC), who has been advocating for live music venues and the music ecosystem in Canada. www.supportcanadianvenues.ca

With a background as a classically trained singer, Jennifer’s previous roles include tenures at Canadian Music Week, NXNE, production for AEG/Goldenvoice including Edgefest and Wakestock, and as a published music writer for BeatRoute, Hush Magazine, Abort Magazine, Punkanormal Activity, and The Spill Magazine.