Faux funeral held for live entertainment industry, workers call for relief

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A public funeral procession rolled through San Francisco on Friday lamenting the demise of live entertainment.

“We need relief,” could be heard from those in the industry, who organized and participated in the symbolic event that took place outside of San Francisco City Hall.

A funeral procession was held on October 9 in San Francisco for the live event industry, which has been put on pause due to COVID-19
A funeral procession was held on October 9 in San Francisco for the live event industry, which has been put on pause due to COVID-19 Photo credit Jim Taylor / KCBS Radio

AJ Fardella, an organizer of the faux procession and a production technician for live events has been involved in putting on shows in the Bay Area since the 1970s. He said organizers are asking for more government assistance and COVID-19 bailout.

“Last year, I had the biggest year I’ve ever had in my career,” he told KCBS Radio. “And this year, my company income is at absolute zero.”

About 12 million live event workers are out of work in California alone.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that the event industry has huge tentacles,” Fardella added. “There’s photographers, caterers, lighting and sound designers, venue workers.”

Sherry Battles family has been on the sidelines of show business for generations.

“The unemployment, they’ve taken away the additional $600,” she said. “For those of us who live in the Bay Area, what we’re getting doesn’t even come near to covering our rent.”

A funeral procession was held on October 9 in San Francisco for the live event industry, which has been put on pause due to COVID-19
A funeral procession was held on October 9 in San Francisco for the live event industry, which has been put on pause due to COVID-19 Photo credit Jim Taylor / KCBS Radio