How Live Events May Survive: Go LIVE Together Coalition

Editor’s Note: On July 9, Go Live Together Coalition announced that it had raised more than $500,000 to support legislative actions that will aid the industry and its workforce. The advocacy effort now counts more than 1,700 partners. 

Just how will live events bounce back? And how will all the millions of planners, union workers, general laborers, strategists, marketers, concession-stand workers, entertainers, riggers, project managers and more who are needed to make these events sizzle be able to pick up where they left off many months before?

Enter Go LIVE Together Coalition. Its mission: to support legislative actions that will aid the industry’s recovery from COVID-19—and the survival of all those who contribute to its vitality. This coalition of live-events industry leaders will advocate with local, state and federal legislators to institute measures for the industry’s support and recovery.

Latest to join the coalition as a founding partner is Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP). Formation of the coalition was spurred in late April by Freeman, the global live events company.

In all, 80 organizations—representing over 4,000 live-events organizations with operations in the U.S. and 112 other countries—have joined forces “bound together by the belief that nothing in the world will ever replace the power and need for trade shows and live events,” according to a FICP press release.

What Go LIVE Wants

  • A Business Tax Credit to encourage attendee and exhibitor participation: An incentive to offset qualified expenses related to show participation, travel, accommodations and more.
  • The Clean Start: Back to Work Tax Credit: This will help businesses offset the personnel, supplies and equipment costs associated with implementing essential safety guidelines that adhere to the best medically backed scientific practices for the safety and well-being of participants and overall public health.
  • The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) or Pandemic Risk Coverage in Event Cancellation Insurance: Planning for business events begins over a year in advance, including contractual agreements with venues, hotels, speakers, exhibitors, staff costs and much more. With a lack of visibility on reopening plans, the industry is calling upon Congress to provide communicable disease coverage in event cancellation insurance to offer the coverage necessary for organizers to maintain solvency.
  • The Travel America Act: By allowing businesses to offset related travel expenses, businesses and consumers across the country will more readily participate in conferences and events.
  • The RESTART Act: This bipartisan legislation would help businesses by providing six months of funding to cover payroll, benefits and fixed operating expenses.

When do they want it? As soon as possible.

Massive Incubator for Innovation and Growth

“As an organization of meetings professionals and the hospitality community that supports their work, you will find no more passionate advocates for the value and impact of in-person events,” said FICP Executive Director Steve Bova, CAE. “We know that many organizations and individuals in our industry have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and [we] support actions that will help sustain them and accelerate their recovery.”

FICP, a community of financial services and insurance industry meetings and events professionals, pointed out in its announcement that events serve as a “massive incubator for innovation and economic growth” that contributes nearly $1 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and directly employed 3 million workers in 2019. Over 80 percent of the companies that serve the live-events industry are small, with many being women and minority-owned businesses.

Go Live Partners with EIC

In response to COVID-19’s impact on business events, Go LIVE launched a grassroots advocacy campaign in partnership with Events Industry Council’s APEX COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

The campaign provides members of the business events community with tools to contact elected officials to get a temporary tax credit proposed by Go LIVE Together. The tax credit will work to lessen the costs of participation in business events, especially for the 1.4 million small businesses that are heavily reliant on it.

“A tax credit to incentivize attendee and exhibitor participation will be critical when the time is right for a return to live events,” said Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman and member of the Go LIVE Together Operating Committee. “We are asking our community to join us in amplifying this message to legislators because, by making our voices heard together, we can play a meaningful role in protecting and rebuilding the business events industry.”

More information is available at golivetogether.com and #GoLiveTogether.

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