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We All Could Use a Little Sunshine…

George Petersen • Editor's NoteFebruary 2021 • February 4, 2021

Okay, 2021 got off to a rocky start, but the country and the world are starting to get back on track. Stimulus money (never enough) is beginning to get out — hopefully this time to the people and small businesses that need it and less to banks, Wall Street insiders, hedge fund brokers, insurance firms, oil companies and multi-billion dollar businesses that pocketed the last round of payouts to buy back their own stock, instead of providing jobs and keeping people employed.

The recent $900 billion Covid relief package that won bipartisan support in Congress will include $15 billion (still not enough) in dedicated “Save Our Stages” funding for live venues, independent movie theaters and cultural institutions.

Vaccines are starting to happen, but the rollout is a tangled mass of confusion.

A Jan. 26 letter to President Biden — from AEG, Bandit Lites, Broadway League, IATSE, International Association of Venue Managers, Live Nation, NAMM, the National Independent Venue Association, We Make Events and others — offered venues, staff and expertise to the Covid vaccination effort. And the reaction from the administration was immediate and positive. Our unused venues are ideal sites for mass immunizations, with parking, public transit and capabilities in ticketing, crowd control, security, organizational skills, etc. Hey, if you need something done correctly and on time, just ask a roadie — we’ve all been there and done that on a massive scale. Why set up vaccine centers under pop-ups in hospital parking lots (subject to traffic backups and bad weather closures) when a nearby arena sits vacant?

America — and Americans — are amazing and can beat this. And if we all pull together, hopefully we’ll soon be filling those venues with cheering fans.

Meanwhile, stay safe!

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