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Silent night? NYE cancellations underscore plight of entertainment industry

“There’s no end in sight.”
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 10:27 PM EST
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CLARE, Mich. (WJRT) (12/30/2020)-December 30 would normally serve as a kind of D-Day for prep-work ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations nationwide...

But, this year, virtually everything is cancelled, underscoring the pandemic’s devastating impact on the entertainment industry. One local company shared a shocking set of numbers which highlight the plight of the industry and its largely furloughed workforce as a whole.

Far from the traditional glitz, the glamor and the fanfare, the tone will be decidedly more subdued as millions of Americans ring in the New Year.

“It’s way down, I’ll say that.”

Any ordinary December 30 and Sound Productions Clare headquarters would be a hive of activity.

“Last year, we had 18 shows on New Year’s Eve,” President Jim Paetschow explained. “This year, we have one.”

When the dust clears, Paetschow expects the entertainment firm’s losses to top a million dollars this year.

“We’re down 1500 weddings this year,” he related flatly. “There’s no end in sight. I mean, I don’t know when this stuff’s going to start back up… we haven’t worked really since St. Patrick’s Day.”

Patriot Management, a Live Nation affiliate, revealed during a mid-December congressional hearing that 95-percent of all live entertainment events had been cancelled in 2020. Another industry insider projected without federal intervention, 60-percent of the industry would go under by February.

The federal government’s latest aid package makes available $15-billion in additional relief dollars – as part of the Save Our Stages Act. On the state level, a bipartisan relief package signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday -- will dole out $3.5-million to the state’s shuttered venues.

“Behind the scenes money loss is huge. I mean for everybody,” Paetschow explained. “The ripple effect is endless. It’s huge.”

With around a dozen other businesses under its umbrella, Paetschow was able to prevent mass layoffs by shuffling his people around. He vowed the 40 year old company would weather the live entertainment blackout, but worried many others would not survive to ring in another New Year.

“There’s a lot of guys that we know, they’re probably not coming back,” Paetschow said. “I mean, that’s just right on down this whole industry.”

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