North Carolina musician boycott is decimating local businesses

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McCraw said the impact is likely to affect the North Carolina live music industry for months to come because artists and agents are wavering on whether to even schedule shows in North Carolina four to six months from now.

“So there will be a period, and none of us know how long this will last, before something happens in a positive way,” he said.

The Greensboro Coliseum Complex, the city’s economic powerhouse, estimated it lost $188,000 from three no-shows so far, according to Ted Oliver, chairman of the advisory board to the complex. The city sent the governor a May 12 letter asking him to reconsider his support of the law.

“When we hear that the coliseum is suffering, what that really means is the employees are suffering,” Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan said. “People who work part-time to balance their budget. That affects workers in hotels, housekeeping, front desks. These are people who are dependent on every single paycheck.”

For a large event like Bruce Springsteen, the venue would have hired part-time work from 225 event staff, 60 parking staff, 30 housekeepers and about 100 stagehands, said Andrew Brown, a spokesman for the coliseum complex.

Concessions booths staffed by organizations such as the Walter Hines Page High School Band Boosters, who get a cut of the funding for their programs, were left with nothing. They can reap at least $600 a night when the shows are on, which helps them pay to dry clean uniforms and feed the marching band before away games.

Band boosters were scheduled to work both Springsteen and Cirque du Soleil, said treasurer Dan Kasper, whose son plays trumpet.

Small business owners that share Gate City Blvd with the Coliseum say it’s too early to quantify how much the cancellations have cost them, but the events are usually big business.

Badreldin Mustafa, general manager at Tito’s Pizza, said a concert night nearly doubles his business because visitors must walk by to get to the coliseum. Jesus Macias, who owns La Bamba Mexican restaurant, said servers rely on tips from those three or four major events to balance out a dwindling stream of regulars the rest of the year.

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