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‘There’s zero revenue’ — Kansas drummer shares hardships of coronavirus halt in live concerts


Phil Ehart — drummer, founder and supervisor of Kansas — instructed CNBC on Tuesday that the halt in concerts because of the coronavirus has had a chilling impact for the complete live leisure business.

“We’re all sitting at home. … There’s zero income,” Ehart mentioned in a “Squawk Box” interview. “We’re stranded.”

Before the pandemic, Kansas, which has been making music because the 1970s, was on the point of tour the United States across the launch of its new album, “The Absence of Presence.” 

Then, Ehart mentioned, “We got a call from our agent, he said, ‘Guys, head home. … California’s closing up, Oregon, Las Vegas, everything started to shut down.'”

“It’s very startling at first,” the drummer added. “Then you realize, all our support staff — our lighting, trucking, staging — is at home. It’s starting to take an effect, not having a light at the end of that tunnel.”

While the live leisure business contains artists and musicians who’ve needed to cancel excursions, the shortage of occasions has additionally impacted hundreds of thousands of others working behind the scenes.

A live performance lit by Bandit Lites.

Michael T. Strickland, founder and chairman of Bandit Lites, is one of these dealing with hardship. His 45-year-old firm supplies lighting for stage reveals.

“Unlike some of the other struggling businesses, we sit at a moment where we can do absolutely nothing,” mentioned Strickland, who appeared with Ehart on CNBC. “You’ve got 10 million people that literally are making no income.”

According to an business survey performed in April, shortly after state lockdowns had been beginning to take full impact, greater than 76% of leisure expertise enterprise homeowners mentioned they’d misplaced all of their money stream, with about 96% of them having to chop employees.

“The live event industry as a whole went to zero income on March 13,” Strickland mentioned. “It’s been five months since the virus hit, and it will be another five months until we can get open, if we can get open then.”

“Speaking for Kansas,” Ehart added, “we’re already moving our dates from 2020 to 2021. The other day we started to move our dates into 2022. It’s not looking any better.”

Ehart additionally famous that even when issues do restart, the results taking place now could also be felt for years to return.

“Think about your favorite theaters, your favorite performing art centers,” he mentioned. “If they don’t have concerts for a year or two, they’re not going to survive. … Those theaters will be bought, probably torn down, and when we all come out of this, they won’t be there.”

That’s why folks like Ehart and Strickland are calling on Congress to introduce extra assist for small companies, particularly these in live leisure.

Strickland has been talking with Republican senators from Tennessee Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn since March when Capitol Hill handed and President Donald Trump signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, which created the federal Paycheck Protection Program to offer firms forgivable loans to maintain paying staff in the course of the coronavirus disaster.

“What Congress did for us back in April with the PPP was phenomenal,” Strickland mentioned. “That was sort of a bridge loan, when we all thought this would be over in 30 to 60 days. Now we’ve moved beyond that, and everyone’s out of money within the small business community.”

Strickland is a component of the initiative #RedAlertRESTART, which goals to name consideration to the disaster confronted by small companies in the business. On Sept. 1, about 2,000 buildings and areas throughout North America will likely be lit up pink, together with the Empire State Building in New York City, the Hollywood Bowl in California, and even Niagara Falls on the U.S.-Canadian border. Earlier this month, there was an identical name to motion throughout the U.Ok.

#RedAlert UK lights up the Thames River.

Strickland emphasised the immediacy of the disaster. “Not only will venues cease to exist, we’re already losing companies,” he mentioned. “More importantly, we’re losing people out of this market sector, going into other market sectors. That’s why it’s so important that the enhanced unemployment be extended.”

While it might be too quickly to inform when precisely live occasions will return, Strickland instructed CNBC that he is assured that individuals will wish to attend occasions in individual, moderately than just about, and concerts will come again.

Ehart feels equally. “You want to believe that someday we’ll come out of this and there will be concerts again, there will be sports, ballet,” the Kansas founder mentioned. “I like to stay positive.”



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