Local nonprofit to illuminate for red alert

NILES — Passing through downtown Niles Tuesday evening might yield a unique sight.

Roadies who have made their home in Niles will be participating in a nationwide advocacy action to bring awareness to the continued industry employment loss they and their professional community are facing.

Courtney and Paul Klimson, who have spearheaded The Roadie Clinic to be headquartered at 205 E. Main St., will be flipping the switch on red lights on the outside of their building Tuesday evening beginning at 9 p.m. through midnight.

“Our staff and we decided to do it here,” Paul said. “Our building is three stories. We are supposed to make building front all red.”

He added that jobs have not come back to the live events industry, and there is no pathway for the industry to get back on track without a COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

“Gigs? There are none,” Klimson said. “The big ones that employ regularly are nonexistent.”

He added that there are “one-off’ gigs, like the MTV Video Music Awards, but they are not enough to sustain the road technicians that rely on traveling with performers and productions to make a living.

“There’s a lot of hurdles to be overcome,” he said.

The lights are a part of the Red Alert initiative by We Make Events. Through the organization, participants hope to raise awareness for the industry, and help show support of the RESTART Act. The RESTART Act was sponsored by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. The act would extend the Paycheck Protection Program along with the Small Business Administration loan program.

The Klimsons are joining the effort to bring awareness to the number of unemployed people in the live events sector, which has put the industry “on red alert.”

According to the We Make Events website, live events employ more than 12 million people and contribute more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy each year. Due to COVID-19 precautions and mandates, the site said 95 percent of live events have been canceled and 96 percent of the industry’s companies have cut staff, wages or both.

The Roadie Clinic will also be joined by nine other local performing art centers in nearby South Bend that have registered on the Red Alert participation list, including the Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend Civic Theatre, Downtown South Bend and the Debartolo Performing Arts Center.

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