Revenue / 03.31.21
As Concerts Prepare to Return From Pandemic Lockdown, Roadies Have Moved On
Wall Street Journal (03/29/21) Steele, Anne
The live events industry is facing a potential roadie shortage after more than a year in pandemic-related limbo, with organizers concerned that many workers have permanently quit. Michael Strickland, CEO of lighting company Bandit Lites, reckons that one-third of pre-pandemic workers are gone for good. Concert executives are banking on a rebound for outdoor venues later this summer and inside clubs and theaters this fall. A labor shortage could quickly snowball in 2022, when promoters and agents say more acts will be touring than ever before. Out-of-work roadies have become Amazon warehouse workers or package deliverers for UPS, while carpenters and electricians have found employment at Home Depot or started their own companies. Production manager Chris Gratton estimates that 15% of his regular crew will not return, and a lack of hands-on training opportunities for apprentices makes safety his biggest concern. "We're going to have to take it slow and smarter till we get our rhythm back," he says. Adding to many roadies' resentment and resistance towards returning to live events is their exclusion from the Save Our Stages Act, whose passage by Congress was long-delayed and contentious.
Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.
Tags: Music , News , COVID-19 , Coronavirus