October 20, 2020 | New Orleans

For Immediate Release
October 16, 2020

Sandra Dartus, 307-699-2026 

Diane Lyons, 504-952-0205

'Empty Event' Demonstrates Plight of Live Event Industry
Unemployed workers and suppliers unite to shed light on losses

New Orleans – Members of the hospitality industry are rallying on Tuesday, October 20, from 3:30-6:30 pm during an ‘Empty Event’ at River City Venue, to advocate for and support the many voices of the live events industry that has been obliterated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joining local organizers to deliver this important message will be Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, Kelly Schulz, senior vice president of communications and public relations for New Orleans & Company, Barry Kern, president and CEO of Kern Studios and Mardi Gras World, and Michael Sawaya, president/general manager of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The press conference will begin at 4:15 pm.

Live events were one of the first to be shut down and will likely be the last to return. More than 12 million workers and businesses across the country that are the lifeblood of meetings, conventions, sporting and theatrical events, weddings, festivals and tradeshows are unemployed and dormant. This includes caterers, talent, musicians and performers, technicians, engineers, event planners, floral and lighting designers, decorators, DJ’s, photographers, rental and production companies, freelancers, ticket takers, tour guides, transportation, venues, destination management professionals, convention centers, hotels and restaurants – a myriad of services, workers and providers that have lost jobs, income, and benefits, resulting in devasting tax losses for cities and states.

New Orleans is joining the ranks of The Live Event Coalition that has held ‘Empty Events’ in New York City, Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Boston and Nashville. The ‘Empty Event’, which consists of the main components that make up a live event with the exception of people who attend, is meant to showcase the breadth and impact of COVID-19 on the live event industry as well as to encourage politicians and policy makers to push for federal aid via the RESTART ACT and other efforts to provide relief for the industry.

The October 20th staged event will replicate a lavish, riverfront outdoor party setting comparable to what’s typically planned for meeting and convention attendees. Unemployed workers and suppliers will hold signs conveying the jobs they have lost. The event is closed to the public, much the same as the live events that have disappeared.

Spokesman for the local initiative, Diane Lyons of ACCENT New Orleans, explains, “We are not asking Congress to relax rules so we can stage unsafe events. We are pleading for a lifeline so our businesses can stay alive and our unemployed workers can be supported until the pandemic is over.”

Organizers for the New Orleans ‘Empty Event’ include ACCENT New Orleans, Signature Events, River City/Mardi Gras World, Synergy Events & Marketing/Covington Three Rivers Art Festival, Royal Productions, Nonprofit Consultant Sandra S. Dartus, and a host of suppliers and volunteers who are generously providing time and resources. To accentuate the message the Mercedes Benz Superdome will light up in red the evening of October 20 , providing a ‘Red Alert’ to the disastrous effects of the pandemic on the workforce and companies that make live events possible.

To learn more, visit https://accent-dmc.com/new-orleans-empty-event/, or follow the hashtags #NewOrleansEmptyEvent, #EmptyEvent, #SaveLiveEvents, and #GoLive.

Supporters are also encouraged to contact representatives in Government to advocate the call for Federal Aid for the Live Events Industry by sending a letter via liveeventscoalition.org/get-involved/.