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Association hopes state funds rebuild struggling live events industry

Posted at 9:17 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 23:17:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Live Event Industry Association (ULEIA) have taken a proposal to Utah’s Capitol Hill to ask legislators for their support on reallocating funds to benefit ailing businesses in the industry.

The Association, comprised of local business owners and workers, is asking to apply the remaining state funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to support the live events industry. 

“The events industry is one of the few industries that’s still not out of quagmire yet,” said Shawn Taylor, of Taylor Audio Visual who also serves as Chair of the ULEIA Legislative and State Government Affairs Committee. “We’re the people dressed in black backstage that create the magic that no one thinks about.”

Taylor says that he and his company are missing out once again with the in-person cancellation of Sundance. 

“The events industry employs a lot of families in the state of Utah and there’s a lot of people on the ground who are suffering,” said Taylor. “My biggest concern with losing Sundance is the $50,000. I was going to pay out in wages. I’m worried about my staff, I’m worried about their families, I’m worried about them making their mortgages.”

ULEIA hopes some of the funds can be moved through the legislative process to the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity to administer funds to local businesses in need.

“2020 was nonexistent for me I was at 96% loss income,” said Mark Gallegos, owner of Mammoth Audio Visual for more than 30 years. “I’ve done a heloc on my house as well, you know I did not get one penny of the grant money from Utah and it was just exhausted so quickly.”

The association hopes the funds can be used to support businesses by being put into a grand program for ongoing operations, rent expenses and paying off debt incurred to operate during the pandemic. They also want to use the funds to compensate staff and keep them employed during uncertain times.

“This week, we should be loading in the Sundance film festival and we’re not,” said Taylor. “The loss of that one event costs my business around $100,000 and the big effects of that are, now I’ve got a dozen employees that were expecting a $5,000 paycheck that aren’t going to get it.”