#RedAlertRESTART shines a light on a struggling live music industry

Alabama's Mars Music Hall / Courtesy of We Make Events North America

It’s been said a lot during the ongoing pandemic, but it bears repeating: The music industry was the first to close, and will likely be among the very last to open. To help raise awareness of the struggles of the live music industry during COVID-19, music venues across the country will bathe their rooms in red light tonight (September 1), from 9 p.m. to midnight local time, as part of We Make Events’ #RedAlertRESTART campaign.

Today’s call to action is an act of solidarity and awareness, expecting to include more than 1,500 locations across North America and shine a light on the impact COVID-19 has had on a $877 billion industry in the United States alone. That includes roughly 125 venues in New England, including The Sinclair and Oberon in Cambridge, Worcester’s Palladium, The Cabot Theatre in Beverly, Vermont’s Higher Ground, and Boston’s BCA/Cyclorama, Shubert Theatre Big Night Live, and others.

The purpose of #RedAlertRESTART is to encourage Congress to act on the Restart Act, which would help bring financial assistance to those in the music industry affected by the prolonged shutdown, and support the efforts of ExtendPUA.org, which would extend and expand federal unemployment benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. It’s organized by the We Make Events coalition, a national committee that’s coordinating the efforts across the United States and Canada.


“The entire live events industry is on the brink of collapse. Without financial relief, many businesses stand to permanently close, and families risk bankruptcy and homelessness,” says Brad Nelms, director of We Make Events North America. “We want to take this opportunity to show the world the scale of what it takes to make live entertainment events happen and demonstrate how much this crisis has affected our community.”

The Boston area had not been spared from COVID-19 closings. Yesterday came news that Bull McCabe’s Pub in Somerville would not re-open after the pandemic, joining Union Square neighbor Thunder Road, Allston’s Great Scott, Jamaica Plain’s Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge, and The Cantab in Cambridge. 

“This is a human issue, not a political issue, and it requires immediate action,” adds Nelms. “While we realize there are a lot of issues going on right now, and other organizations will be staging events on other dates, we feel very strongly we must act now to save our industry.”

More info on the campaign below.