RESTART Act hope Moore County

The Red Alert Restart campaign lit up several Moore County entertainment venues in red lights Sept. 1 from 9 p.m. through midnight to bring awareness to the struggling entertainment industry under COVID-19 restrictions. The campaign is a nationwide effort begun by We Make Events.

The hope is that people will be inspired to write their representatives to pass the RESTART Act which provides funding through loans to be paid back over seven years – and forgiveness. Loan forgiveness for lease payments and utilities is included in the Act and is considered crucial. Entertainment venues were the first to close under restrictions on March 13, and surviving venues will be last to re-open.

Rock-It Productions, a company owned by locals, Evan Spivey and Chaz Howe, lit up the Sunrise Theater and its outdoor stage in Southern Pines, the newly renovated BPAC and Owens Auditorium at Sandhills Community College which is home for Judson Theatre and Carolina Philharmonic, and the R. E. Lee Auditorium at Pinecrest High School where various community events take place including performances by the North Carolina Symphony. 

“The industry accounts for over $1 trillion annually to the economy while providing jobs for over 12 million people. 77% of industry workers have lost 100% of income, including 97% of 1099 workers. 96% of companies have cut their staff or wages,” Spivey said.

Will the show go on?

Events, some of which are free, including First Friday, the Carolina Philharmonic, local high school productions, ballets from Taylor Dance and Terpsichore, or artists on tour in larger cities are events at risk.

Direct donations are encouraged to help venues survive through restrictions. At wemakeevents.org, there are instructions on how to write representatives to pass the RESTART Act.

“Historic theaters are some of the hardest hit as most are non-profit and more and more are closing for good everyday due to not being able to host events or show movies. Most sit on prime property and are at risk of becoming storefronts,” Spivey said.

Rock-It Productions is based out of Southern Pines and offers audio, lighting, staging, and design services to Moore County. More information is at Instagram @rockitpronc and the website rockitpronc.com. Contact at info@rockitpronc.com.

Feature photo: Evan Spivey and Chaz Howe of RockIt Productions light up the Sunrise Theatre in red on Broad Street in Southern Pines on Sept. 1, 2020. The red lights symbolize the Red Alert Restart campaign in the entertainment industry impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. 

Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.

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