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Local event organizers feeling effects of latest provincial restrictions

Cancelling concerts doesn't only impact the artist, but the stage hands and local businesses as well, concert promoter Ken Craig explained.

Another COVID-19 wave means another blow to the local and national concert and entertainment industries.

And it’s a blow that’s forcing people — both closely tied to the industry and those supporting it in other ways — to quit and find jobs elsewhere to make ends meet, an Ottawa concert promoter says.

“It’s really tough,” Ken Craig, the owner of Ken Craig Productions, told The Sam Laprade Show on Friday, January 9. “Everybody’s doing the best they can and hopefully the experts are making the best calls and right decisions.”

Craig, who just came off the 21-city Genesis North America tour and has put together concerts for the Rolling Stones, AC/DC and Guns N’ Roses (just to name a few), said all this back-and-forth with decisions of lockdowns and restrictions has really made it difficult for teams to plan anything. 

According to Craig, it takes about four to seven months to plan shows, so when they hear lockdowns have been lifted, they take that opportunity to start planning. But if another lockdown is announced shortly thereafter, then organizers are left in limbo. 

“You plan this, and then all of the sudden it goes away,” he said. “It really hurts the industry. It’s not just hurting the musicians, you’re talking the truck drivers of these shows, the workers of the concessions stands. It hurts everybody right from the very bottom to the people working with the microphones and on stage.”

For example, Craig said there were times where getting a caterer for the crew and band were not possible because catering businesses couldn’t find any staff to work the event.

And with 82 people on the road with the bands, and between 100 and 120 stage hands working, Craig says a lot of food is needed. 

But that’s even if the stage hands show up, Craig says. 

“We were not filling the calls and were short stage hands almost every day. People have gone to different careers because this industry has been shut down since March 2020. It opened for a few months in 2021, but now we’re shut down again. People have to start looking for other jobs because we don’t know where it’s going. When’s it going to stop?”

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