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Bandit Lites Chair Michael T. Strickland Issues Call for Industry Support on WGN’s NewsNation

FOH Staff • News • October 2, 2020

NASHVILLE – An Oct. 1 report covering the reopening of the Grand Ole Opry to limited live audiences Oct. 3 on WGN America’s NewsNation included an appearance by Bandit Lites chair and RESTART Act proponent Michael T. Strickland, who detailed the plight facing more than 10 million “invisible” behind-the-scenes workers across the U.S.

“Behind every artist, you have sound people, light people, venue people, managers, agents, artists, bus people, truck people, laser people, pyro people. That’s the 10 million people,” Strickland said.

“We’re a large group of freelance folks, and for the most part we work for one event for a while, and then another event for a while. And so these 10 million plus people are literally unemployed since March 13, and will be, until March of next year. So that’s a year without a paycheck.”

Along with backstage workers now scraping by with limited unemployment benefits, Strickland noted the threat to the survival of established companies in this $877 billion industry that are now facing stark choices with the absence of PPP loans and other governmental support.

“There will be no industry left by November if Congress doesn’t step up and pass The Restart Act — or something like the Restart Act — because another ten weeks of PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) is simply a Band-Aid,” Strickland said.

To view the program, go to


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