With many festivals being cancelled and postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the call for tents and stages is pretty low. However, the need for medical triage centers and gear is very high and there are a number of production companies heeding the call for help.
Choura Events, Gallagher Staging and Upstaging, who usually build staging for large-scale tours and festivals like Coachella, have stepped up to use their unique skills to help the front line.
Choura Events founder Ryan Choura told the Los Angeles Times:
“We pivoted so fast to being a rapid-response disaster relief team. If I didn’t know how to do Coachella, I couldn’t do this hospital. I saw patients coming in here and saw what they looked like. This is real, and we’ve got to move.”
“We’re an industry that moves faster than anyone,” relates Gallagher Staging chief executive Joey Gallagher. “We’ll install an entire city on a blank slate. We have everything available: Wi-Fi, radios, generators, lighting, restrooms and wash stations. We can build a small city in a day or two, and that’s a need right now.”
Upstaging has been working on protective face shields for medical staff, as well as room dividers and signs. Said co-founder Robin Shaw:
“We started looking at what the immediate need was and we’ve been making face shields for two weeks. Our shop makes metal for sets and we can build just about anything.”
“We deal with an industry where if we’re not fixing things ahead of the curve, the concert’s not happening. So we figured we had a lot to offer in this emergency.”
COVID-19 has devastated the population, infecting more than 839,000 people and killing more than 41,343 worldwide. With so many people flooding in and so little supplies, hospitals have become overwhelmed and ill-prepared for the path of the virus.
Much of the work these companies are doing on these life-saving structures are being done without profit and with very little direction. Said Gallagher:
“There’s definitely been a learning curve. We could use some guidance as far as what a medical practice room would be, and we wish there was one organization that we can directly communicate with to offer services. It’s definitely a whole new environment for us, but it’s also what we’re used to: adapting.”
Despite these issues, the companies are finding that the work has been very rewarding.
“It’s bringing good into a really bad situation. I’ve got 14 guys on this site building who would be sitting at home. I’ve been more fulfilled over the last few weeks than over the last decade. It’s very meaningful to feel like you’re part of saving a life.”
“We can’t wait to get back to the concert business, because we love it. Sometimes I go to bed crying at night. But we got a message from a woman in elder care wearing one of our masks, that said this was going to save people’s lives. I sat there and said ‘This is unbelievable, this might help people not die.’”
[via Metal Injection]