APOPKA, Fla. — The events industry is on red alert. You may recall that a few thousand halls and theaters turned red last month for the Red alert campaign (#WeMakeEvents), drawing attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic is shattering the livelihoods of professionals.
Spectrum News caught up with a man from Apopka who sheds light on the people behind the scenes and how they struggle just as much.
1. Cosmo Wilson, Apopka, is a concert lighting director. His love for the industry began in 1976 at a KISS concert in Lakeland.
“I wanted to be a rock star,” he smiles. “I saw that and I said, ‘That’s what I wanted to do. “”
He started by tuning guitars for bands. He quickly becomes a machinist. Eventually, he landed the job of lighting director for the Rolling Stones.
2. After the Stones, Wilson moved on to another household name.
“I’ve been with AC/DC for 30 years now. So they are my family. Wilson has had a gig (see number five) since February 2020, as the pandemic began to create this new social dimension.
“A lot of people don’t realize how many people it takes to put on a show,” he said. “You are talking about ushers, restaurant people (unemployed).”
3. “We don’t want handouts. We want to work,” Wilson insisted. According to the Red Alert campaign, 95% of live events have been canceled due to COVID. “I would much rather be in Europe with Aerosmith right now…the government basically said, ‘You’re done. You can’t do this.
4. According to WeMakeEvents.org77% of people working in the live event industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of Form 1099 self-employed contract workers.
5. The only gig Wilson was able to land during the pandemic (so far) was a huge huge. Wilson played a huge role in lighting the 9/11 tribute in New York this year.