KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE – As the nation and entertainment industry navigate the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, all Bandit offices have made available to local governments and hospitals, power distribution systems, IT data distribution systems, and portable structures and lighting, completely free of charge. Bandit has also made available, free of charge, its Nashville rehearsal facility, Venue One, for use by any artist that needs a place to perform a live stream event during this critical time.
“Tennessee has been known as The Volunteer State since The War of 1812, and it was only right that Bandit step up and offer this free support,” said Bandit Lites Chair and founder, Michael T. Strickland. “While all Bandit offices are under Safer-At-Home Orders, the entire staff is on full payroll. No one has been laid off at Bandit. When individuals are needed to accomplish a task, they are covered by the legal exemptions and the Bandit team jumps in and performs the task at hand.”
As the live entertainment industry went dark on March 13, Strickland jumped into action. By Saturday he was on the phone with Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn working hand in hand all weekend and through the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Michael was representing the interests of everyone in the live entertainment segment, from full time employees to freelancers. The Senators were not completely aware of the fact that the entire industry went to zero revenue in a single moment, and once Sen. Alexander and Sen. Blackburn fully understood the total lack of revenue, coupled with the immediate need for relief, they set about doing their business, with a large amount of input from Strickland.
Long days and late nights were the norm for all parties. This continued through the CARES Act Economic Relief Plan with the goal of a quick, fair relief plan that would easily allow individuals and small business to survive through the next few months with minimal job losses.
In addition to his legislative efforts, Strickland serves on the Board of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where he is in constant daily communication with the Board, management and doctors about the COVID-19 situation. There are daily briefings and a massive amount of information is exchanged. As Strickland was coming at the COVID-19 issue from a business, legislative and medical point of view, it was decided there were steps Bandit Lites could take to assist.
As the situation evolves, Bandit will continue to support the communities in need and together we will all get through this.
“America will survive this,” said Strickland. “We are smart, tough and determined. We are working together like we have not since World War II. Those things that do not destroy us make us stronger. If you can provide assistance, do; if you need assistance, ask. We in Tennessee have been Volunteers since the 1800’s and we are not stopping now! All Americans must step up and help our fellow men and women. The light looks bright on the other side!”
About Bandit Lites, Inc.
Bandit Lites is a global leader in the entertainment lighting marketplace. From touring productions to fixed installations, Bandit Lites has a full staff of highly trained professionals to deal with all types of lighting needs. Bandit’s global presence will ensure seamless transitions no matter where your next show takes you. More information available at www.BanditLites.com