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COVID-19

Fear, faith, hope and love…

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6 minute read

What is more powerful, love or fear?

Or are they two sides of the same coin?

In truth, biblically speaking, the opposite of love is fear, as it is written in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”

This year, like in any other civilization, in any country, in any regime, when a great and dangerous threat has reared its ugly head, fear leads the charge and love, faith and hope are often left aside and discarded. In our media obsessed world, faith, hope and love do not make good headlines, but words like Panic, Death, Pestilence and Fear have always spread faster than good news.

Even in biblical times, the phrase, “wars and rumors of wars,” is used to warn of the end of the age. Today, we are slightly more sophisticated, and use Pandemic…Escalation…Terrorist and other charged words rife with dramatic imagery we easily imagine.

Panic and a lack of balance in our media creates lies that are more powerful than the truth.

With the Covid 19 crisis, the spread of the latest respiratory ailment that seems to either be a fast-moving natural virus OR a well planned conspiratory illness designed to spread through the world for an un-defined purpose. Yet missing in the complete domination of our news cycle of the effect of Covid 19 on professional sports, conventions, shopping and employment is the subtle thread that speaks of patience, personal cleanliness and real facts that tell an important part of the story.

For instance, Covid 19 had been less dangerous than the influenza, smoking, cancer and abortion death rates. Where is the ban on cigarette and vape sales? With the millions of unborn children stilled, where is the outrage? Where is the absolute hysteria over ONE child that will never utter its first cry to waiting parents? Where is the statistical breakdown by age of deaths and infections of this life- threatening virus?

Why is this particular virus so special?

What is the role of pharmaceutical companies business model in prevention and treatment? Is profit driving response models?

What are the true facts about this hybrid virus that seems to possess symptoms influenza and a common cold share? In our world of genetically modified foods and cloning, it is not unreasonable to imagine a circumstance where it may indeed have been created in a laboratory, almost like gene editing.

While the illness can be deadly to those who already possess possible morbidities, those who are healthy will most likely wait out the two week period and move on with their lives, a little more cautious and perhaps with a longer term stressed immune system.

Culturally speaking, we have seen incredible repercussions such as stock market collapses, cancelation of sports leagues, school shut downs, travel bans, large group event bans, medical equipment and supply shortages, runs on toilet paper, near paranoia over simple coughs, self isolation of government leaders, tourists and amidst this rampant over-reaction, the economic implication of a fuel war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Toss in the environmental extremism of Extinction Rebellion and there is no place to go where there is faith, hope and love to lean on!

However, that is indeed the subterfuge behind the headlines.

It is only in calm, confidence that truth is presented and listened to. Amidst the noise of the cacophonous crowds crying Wolf, the loudest of the loud are heard and responded to.

Until the dreaded Covid 19 fades away, just like SARS, the Swine Flu and other health scourges, we will be subject to over-reaction from the left and abuse being heaped on those who try to see down the middle with calmness.

Rush, Canada’s legendary rock band, penned a trilogy of songs that include the lyric, “And the things that we fear, are a weapon to be used against us,” a tactic that is seemingly on our doorsteps and computer screens.

In fact, a cursory survey of international headlines quickly validates the biological weaponization of Covid 19 with the near complete paralysation of the world.

The real casualty of Covid 19 is not the comparatively small fatality rate, but rather our society that has just now crawled down into a media driven hole fraught with false narratives, laser focused headline driven content that presents extremism as representative of society as a whole.

Just as I started this peace, the real victims just may be those who cling to faith, hope and love despite a world around them that is clinging to wars and rumors of wars, death and desperation so tightly that as their lifeboat bobbles in the Atlantic, they miss the fact that the son will indeed rise in the morning and it will be a grand new day.

Faith, Hope and Love to all of you.

Tim Lasiuta

Lost in the Pandemic

 

Tim Lasiuta is a Red Deer writer, entrepreneur and communicator. He has interests in history and the future for our country.

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Agriculture

COVID-19 takes down Agri-Trade 2020

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Agri-Trade Equipment Expo cancelled for November 11th – 13th, 2020

Agri-Trade Equipment Expo announced today that they made the difficult decision to cancel their 2020 show that was to be held November 11 – 13 at Westerner Park. Although Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy guidelines do allow for trade shows to take place, considering all factors, Agri-Trade felt they had no choice but to cancel the show.

Agri-Trade worked closely with all stakeholders to come to this decision.  They all worked together to do what they felt was best for their exhibitors during this pandemic. Corporate policies have introduced restricted travel that would impede both exhibitor participation and attendance for the event.

“With so many concerns around the current situation with COVID-19, many companies have implemented restricted travel policies. With a significant number of companies having to cancel, we felt that the show would not be representative of the Agri-Trade brand.  This was not a decision that was made lightly, we left no stone unturned as we were making this decision.” said David Fiddler, Agri-Trade Expo Show Manager.

“We know that in a normal year, millions of dollars of business takes place and almost $300 million in economic impact is created as a direct result of the show. We recognize that many people and businesses will be impacted by this decision. We appreciate the Government of Alberta, and Alberta Health Services for providing an environment that would allow tradeshows such as Agri-Trade to be a part of Alberta’s recovery plan.” said Rick More, Chief Executive Officer, Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.

“After hundreds of event cancellations over the past six months, we wanted to try everything we could to safely and successfully host Agri-Trade, once we were given the green light for tradeshows by Alberta Health Services. But as we monitor the environment and the ongoing challenges and feedback from exhibitors and stakeholders, we feel that the risks outweigh the reward in pushing forward this year.” Mike Olesen, Chief Executive Officer, Westerner Park.
The Agriculture community is resilient and has already persevered through a number of challenges this 2020 plant and harvest season. Agri-Trade looks forward to once again being the place to do business in Agriculture in western Canada in November of 2021.

Since 1984 Agri-Trade has been a joint venture of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and Westerner Park, attracting farmers and ranchers to view the newest equipment, technologies and the latest information to boost productivity and profit their operations. Agri-Trade is one of Canada’s premier indoor/outdoor agricultural equipment expositions and is considered to be one of the best Farm Equipment Shows to do business in North America.
If you are looking or more information on Agri-Trade Equipment Expo please be sure to follow them on social media or stay up to date at www.agri-trade.com

For media inquiries contact: David Fiddler, Show Manager 403-304-5719 or [email protected].

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Alberta

Your event has been CANCELLED

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Your Event Has Been Cancelled

By Ilan Cooley

The live event industry is in serious trouble. It was the first sector to go dark due to the pandemic, and it is expected to be the last to be allowed back to work.

The people behind the scenes of your favourite events are the mavericks and risk takers you likely don’t know about. They create the events that make you smile until your face hurts, cheer until you lose your voice, and dance until you can’t stand up. They make the magic that fills your social feeds, and the moments that live in your memories.

You may have gotten an email saying “your event has been cancelled” – they lost their livelihood.

“People don’t understand how bullseye targeted this virus was at our industry,” says Jon Beckett, owner of Production World. “It was a 100% bullseye. You couldn’t hit it more dead centre. It’s not like it hurt us – it took it away. People don’t understand that until you talk to them about your industry.”

Production World Staff

Beckett’s company used to employ 50 people. Having lost more than 200 events so far, they have laid off 35 people. Their 25,000 square foot warehouse contains almost seven million dollars worth of staging, lighting and other production equipment.

“We have to house that inventory,” he says. “It is not like we can sell it.”

Similarly, Fort Saskatchewan based Superior Show Service has two separate warehouses full of rental items nobody currently needs, plus tax bills and insurance due. As a 35-year-old family-run event rental company, they cater to tradeshows and large events. Some of the 35 staff they laid off in March have been hired back after accessing relief programs, but with more than 80 events already cancelled, owner Chris Sisson worries about the future.

“It feels like the carpet kicked out from under you,” he says. “I’ve always been able to provide for a great number of families, not just my own, and today I have no idea how to provide for my own. I have been in this industry my entire life, and now I have no idea what to do. It is truly humbling and dumbfounding.”

Chris Sisson of Superior Show Service

Event promoter Mike Andersson prefers not to dwell on what has been lost, instead focusing on building something consumers will want to come back to when it is over. He knows how to manage complex logistics and bring large groups of people together. Even when faced with severe restrictions for events, his company, Trixstar, was busy creating pandemic proof event manifestos, and blue-sky concepts for safe gatherings.

“When everything came crashing down we were putting up material about what events look like after this, and showing some optimism,” he says. “It is important to get people together and to celebrate.” He admits there are good days and bad days. “It is a rollercoaster of emotions,” he says. “Obviously we feel terrible. It affects us, but it affects so many companies. From the security companies, to the ticketing companies, to the tent company, to the production company – all those people are affected.”

Event photographer Dale MacMillan also worries about the people behind the scenes. He has lost more than 100 days of shooting for professional sporting events, large music events, festivals and fairs, which makes up about 60% of his income, and he knows others are in the same situation.

Dale MacMilon takes event photos like this shot of Trixstar

“There’s a guy sitting out there with probably a quarter section of land and he’s probably got 5500 porta potties that are out at ten to 20 events throughout the month, and he is affected tremendously,” says MacMillan. “I see some of the guys that are usually in the business of trucking the machinery to set up the fairs and festivals that are delivering for Amazon now. I look at all of those people who work the booths to break plates. They are not working at all. How else is a guy who owns a plate breaking booth going to get any other business?”

Even artists like Clayton Bellamy are wondering how to pay their bills. As a successful singer/songwriter and member of Canada’s top country band, The Road Hammers, he wishes the gold records on his wall represented a decent living, but admits there is no money to be made without touring. With up to 90% of his income derived from live shows, and almost no revenue from music streaming, he says he will do whatever it takes to feed his family.

“Obviously I have kids and that comes first before anything,” he says. “The main thing to do is to find work.” He also knows lack of touring impacts others. “Our band employs a lot of people. It is not just me on the stage – it is the tour manager, and the person in the office answering the phones at the management company, and the manager. We help employ 50 people. If you think about the industry as a whole, there are a lot of people relying on that trickle-down.”

Clayton Bellamy

Beckett says the model for live events has changed forever.

“If we are going to collapse, then we are going to give it all we can. Right now, we are optimistic that we can somehow find ways to juggle.”

Production World is streaming virtual events to online audiences, and delivering reimagined AHS compliant live events with a mobile stage, video wall, and in-car audio for things like graduations, weddings, movies, drive in music events, and even funerals. They are retrofitting churches for virtual services, and recording content to deliver music and sermons to parishioners.

Sisson suggests his industry should collaborate with government and other industry professionals to develop a plan, like doing events by the hour to control occupancy counts, disinfecting surfaces, contact tracing and testing, and utilizing existing technologies like temperature checks and facial recognition.

“I will be ashamed of our industry if we cannot have something that is approved and a way to conduct ourselves by October,” he says. “At the end of the day there are a lot of livelihoods that need to get looked after.”

MacMillan says the advice his parents gave him to plan for a rainy day was valid. He will get creative with other revenue sources and try to take advantage of programs and subsidies.

“If it helps you along one more month, it is one more month that you can make it until things open up again.”

Bellamy tries to keep his mental health in check by maintaining a rigorous schedule of practicing, writing, and working on existing projects. He plans to finish a new record so he can hit the ground running when touring resumes.

“Right now, I have no income,” he says. “I don’t have a safety net. I don’t have a plan B.”

He says if people want to support their favourite artists they should buy music and merchandise directly, like and share posts and music on social media, and send a letter to the government to help change laws that impact fair pay for artists’ streaming rights.

A return to “normal” is a long way off, and no matter when life starts to feel unrestricted again the world will be altered, and things will be different. Behind the scenes, the event industry not just trying to reinvent itself, it is fighting for survival.

“People don’t think about the human side of it and all that goes into it and all the different companies that come together to produce an event,” says Anderson. “Nobody in the entertainment industry is making a dollar right now. Everyone has to figure out how to survive this, and survive it together. So, my optimism is, I think a lot of companies are going to survive this because they are working together. They are going to support each other once we come out the other side.”

On September 22nd Canadian event industry technicians, suppliers and venues from across the country will Light Up Live events in red to raise awareness for the live event industry – which is still dark.

www.ilancooley.com

Read more on Todayville.

 

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