‘Keep Live Alive’ show will benefit sidelined entertainment industry workers

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Free production will feature Sammy Hagar, Paula Poundstone, among others 

By SHERI GASSAWAY
Correspondent

SAMMY HAGAR tells a hilarious story about one of his many shows here in St. Louis over the years for the “Keep Live Alive Saint Louis” special. – Ryan Johnson photo

Miss being able to attend live concerts and events? The St. Louis Classic Rock Preservation Society is offering the next best thing – a free, 90-minute live-streamed entertainment special on March 12 that includes top national and local acts.

The production, called “Keep Live Alive Saint Louis,” will include interviews and performances by musicians Sammy Hagar, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, and comedian Paula Poundstone among others.

More importantly, the money raised from the March 12 premiere will benefit people in the St. Louis entertainment industry laid-off because of the coronavirus pandemic, including union stagehands, sound and lighting technicians as well as ushers, ticket takers, bartenders and servers.

That’s welcome news for Stagehands (IATSE) Local 6 Business Manager Michael Beckman, whose members were decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. They were among the first to be laid-off as entertainment venues closed, and most are still waiting to get back to work.

“We have about 20 members out there working with the Muny, which is trying to have a season this year,” Beckman said. “We’re starting to see some small events shake out, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in our industry.”

NO INDUSTRY HIT HARDER
“There’s not an industry that has been hit harder by the pandemic, and they were hit in the very beginning,” said Pat White, president of the St. Louis Labor Council. “The concerts, live shows, parades and conventions shut down, and the people who work behind the scenes – many union members – were affected and they haven’t recovered.”

When St. Louis’ entertainment venues closed up shop, it created a trickle-down effect on the hotel and restaurant industry, leaving to many more union members out of work.

KEVIN CRONIN, of REO Speedwagon, plays a song “unplugged and unhinged” for viewers of the March 12 entertainment show.

“The entertainment industry is the foundation for many other workers,” White said. “It’s imperative that we help these brothers and sisters, and any relief you can provide will be appreciated. Many haven’t been able to return to work all year.”

WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Greg Hagglund, co-executive producer of the special, and a board member of the Classic Rock Preservation Society, said the non-profit holds a trivia night to benefit a local charity, but the pandemic put a halt to the event last year.

“We wanted to do something to make a difference here in St. Louis,” said Hagglund, who is also a partner at Contemporary Productions. “Having been in the live event business for so long, you often forget how many people it takes to produce a show. The pandemic has been just devastating for them.”

In addition to interviews and performances by top national and local acts, Hagglund said the special will give viewers an inside look into the many great stages of St. Louis, including the Muny, the Fox Theatre, the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater as well as smaller local clubs.

HIRING PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC
“People will be able to learn a lot about the St. Louis music scene,” Hagglund said. “Plus, the production has allowed us to hire people that have been most affected by the layoffs. We were thrilled to be able to bring back some of the Stagehands Local 6 members when we were at the Muny and the Fox Theater.”

PREMIERS FRIDAY, MARCH 12
The show premiers Friday, March 12 at 7 p.m., and can be viewed at keeplivealivestl.org. It will also be available to watch for the next six months on the website. There is no charge to watch the video special, but donations are encouraged.

In addition to Hagar, Cronin and Poundstone, the special will include Pat and Danny Liston, of Mama’s Pride; Stan Kipper, Roland Johnson and Michael ‘Supe’ Granda, of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils; Lady J Huston; Bell Darris; country recording artists Lindsay Ell and Alexandra Kay; Bonnie Bramlett, of Delaney & Bonnie; and comedians Greg Warren and Joe Marlotti.

“I’ve never witnessed such enthusiasm and dedication from so many talented people to deliver a great show for St. Louis,” said Ron Stevens, co-executive producer and director of the special said. “Their passion is what will make this 90-minute video special a very memorable event for all of us.”

PROCEEDS WILL FUND GRANTS FOR WORKERS
Proceeds of the event will benefit members of the live entertainment industry in the St. Louis region who are suffering financially due to the pandemic and loss of work. individual grants of $1,000 will be awarded based on financial need.

To apply for a grant, visit keeplivealivestl.org and fill out an application. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2021. All grant recipients will be notified by June 30, 2021.

TO DONATE
To donate, visit keeplivealivestl.org/donate or you mail a check payable to Keep Live Alive Saint Louis to Saint Louis Classic Rock Preservation Society, P.O. Box 260109, St. Louis, MO 63126.

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