America’s live event and entertainment businesses came to a screeching halt this year when most states imposed restrictions on large gatherings because of COVID-19. Now, many say their industry feels forgotten, and they need financial relief to survive.
Brad Dunnum has owned ARIA Show Technology in western Michigan since 1999, employing 10 people who provide sound, lighting, video and other services for live events. But the pandemic forced Dunnum to lay all of them off in June.
“We’re not seen or heard a lot because we’re behind the scenes,” Dunnum said. “When nobody notices us that means we’ve done a good job … and because of that, a lot of folks have forgotten about us.”
Nearly 17 million people were employed in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes the live events industry, at the beginning of 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number dropped sharply to