“Since the pandemic started in early to mid-March, we’ve been the first people that have been cancelled and had to refund tickets, people who lost their jobs first,” says Mark Consiglio, president of the Boston Chapter of the Live Events Coalition, which represents about 500 behind-the-scenes folks who produce live shows.

“Exhibits, conventions, sporting events, hotel AV, those are the folks that were affected first,” the Norwell resident says. “Essentially the live events people, the people behind the scenes, were the first people cancelled and sent home. And we’re likely to be the last people to go back to work.”

So on Tuesday, July 21, at 10 a.m., the organization plans to rally at the steps of the Massachusetts State House in Boston to call for help. “There certain things that have to be done for our community because everything is closed down and we can’t go back to work,” Consiglio says. The group is calling on the United States Congress to extend Pandemic Unemployment Assistance of $600 per week, which set to expire at the end of July.

Consiglio says he works for the company PRG, which produces big concert tours and television shows and fan-engagement productions for sporting events. But even as pro sports works out ways to begin competing again, he notes, they’re planning to do it without fans in the seats, so ticket takers and concessions vendors and people involved in fan engagement like him still won’t be returning to work. “I’m laid off right now,” he says, “just like most of the people in my company.”

“This group of people, they’ve got a special set of circumstances,” Consiglio says. “Phase 1 to 3, a lot of people are able to go back to work. It’s great.” Meanwhile, “the live events economy is in shambles and there’s no end in sight.”

“We understand that we have to be safe,” Consiglio says, “but if you’re going to completely shut down what we do and say people can’t work, there has to be some balance.”

Pictured at top: Mark Consiglio, president of the Boston Chapter of the Live Events Coalition, at some of the productions he’s worked on. (Courtesy)

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