How the Events Industry Is Helping Itself Get Back on Track

Last night, some 75 people showed up to George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Guests, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, were clad in red, the same color displayed on the outside of the building. On the facade of the convention center, a logo read “Red Alert.”

Along with George R. Brown Convention Center, other buildings in Houston, such as Wortham Theater, Jones Hall for the Performing Arts and Miller Outdoor Theatre, as well as venues and businesses in 58 other cities, more than 1,500 in all, displayed the same Red Alert logo.

Organized by We Make Events, a national coalition of entertainment industry professionals, this effort was a call to Congress to pass the RESTART Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in May and has yet to be passed. This act would offer much-needed economic relief to those working in the live events industry, many of whom—roughly 12 million people—have been idled since March, when COVID-19 shutdowns began. We Make Events says 95 percent of live events have been canceled due to the virus.

This is just one of the event industry’s efforts to help itself and support its members.

Seeded by a $250,000 donation from IMEX Group, Meetings Professionals International (MPI) kicked off “One Million to Meet,” a campaign to raise $1 million by the end of 2020 to accelerate the recovery of the meeting and events industry globally. According to Kevin Kirby, MPI’s executive director, fundraising is already halfway there. MPI itself has donated more than $250,000 through August, benefitting more than 1,200 of its members.

IMEX’s donation will also provide relief to the 11 European MPI chapter for initiatives to sustain education and country-specific programs aimed at re-engaging industry awareness and beginning recovery.

“We see this not only as a donation to MPI, but to the recovery of our global economy, because the guidance and facilitation of their passionate members will pave our way forward,” says Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX.