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 organization in the United States.

Thank You!

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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 organization in the United States.


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!


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.


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.


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.”


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.

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.


Nicole Goguen

Nicole Goguen is a 32-year-old technician that has been working in the live event industry for 14 years. Nicole has been instrumental in making #WeBuildEntertainment and #LightUpLive Toronto a reality. Starting her career in Saint John New Brunswick, and then moving to Toronto in 2012. After freelancing for many years in lighting she became a member of IATSE Local 58 as a board op and is currently the Head of Lighting at Medieval Times Toronto. As the founder of We Build Entertainment, Nicole works with technicians and other live event workers to bring people together and help build a stronger more unified community.


Thank you, and Be Well

This Thanksgiving weekend we would like to express our thanks to the amazing live event community. In the absence of shows, concerts and conventions, we may not have not been as connected with our ‘work families’ as usual – it certainly isn’t the same. It might seem unusual to grieve this change, but know that it is allowed and acceptable. We hope that you found some hope and solace this holiday weekend. We are all in this together.We continue to post Canadian resources on that will provide you with financial, health and training support. If you would like to add your own resource, please let us know about it

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB)

Today is the first day to apply for your initial 2 week CRB supplement. This program replaces the CERB, and can pay out if, during a previous 2-week period, you could not work or your income was reduced by 50% compared to last year.

Member Monday

For this Member Monday, we highlight each of you. If it wasn’t for the people who write, follow and perform scripts and runsheets, who build the sets and set the tables, who roll the road cases and sell the tickets
– if it wasn’t for YOU –
there would be no live events.

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Global Day of Action

Hot on the heels of a successful Canadian Day of Visibility for the Live Event Community, the global organization #WeMakeEvents is calling on live event companies and people to reach out across the world.