Some of San Diego's most popular and recognizable event venues were lit up in red Tuesday night in solidarity with venues across the nation reminding lawmakers of the event industry's existence and its need for federal relief dollars.
Red Alert Restart is a movement highlighting the live event venues nationwide that have been darkened and muted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now we are the forgotten industry and there’s no hope in sight. There’s no governmental aide pointed at the entertainment industry,” said Mike Kociela with the San Diego Event Coalition.
Live events funnel millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of jobs into the San Diego economy, according to the San Diego Event Coalition.
On Tuesday, volunteers set up several banks of red lights in the parking lot of Pechanga Arena and pointed them at the building. The dated, off-white cylindrical structure was transformed into a column of infrared light noticeable from miles away on nearby freeways.
One of those volunteers was John Brunelle. He's a career stagehand and video engineer who's been out of a job since March.
“Just to bring awareness to the fact that nobody is working in these venues at the moment and it’s kinda scary,” said Brunelle, describing the purpose of the nationwide demonstration.
The industry hopes its efforts will grab the attention of Congress, and encourage its members to pass the Restart Act which would provide much-needed assistance to the industry.
“We go in and we turn it into magic. We are the first people in and the last people out and it takes hundreds of us to put together a great show,” said Brunelle.
Industry members are also asking for more collaboration with local officials on a safe reopening plan, like other industries have received.
"Red Alert is to put it out there and to really show people how many people this is hurting, how many businesses, how many families this is hurting,” said Matt Schwartz, a San Diego director for Red Alert.
For more information on the Red Alert and the San Diego Event Coalition, click here.
The following venues participated in Tuesday's Red Alert:
- Balboa Theatre
- Civic Theatre
- Copley Symphony Hall
- Del Mar Fairgrounds
- Gaslamp Quarter 5th Avenue
- IATSE 122 labor hall
- Little Italy Piazza
- Marriott Marquis
- North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
- Pechanga Arena
- Petco Park
- Prado Balboa Park
- Pro Systems
- Show Imaging
- The Shell - San Diego Symphony
- US Grant Hotel
- Winston's in OB