One LA-based events company transitioned to help out hospitals dealing with COVID-19
By Trent Sell
With the live music and events industry in total free fall, one LA-based events company decided to make the best out of a bleak situation. Ryan Choura of Choura Events went from servicing major music festivals and sporting events, to helping hospitals in need.
Ryan’s business supplies tents, furniture, and flooring for massive music, sporting, and food events. While gearing up for 2020’s season of events, including the well known Coachella Festival, the unnerving news of the virus started to set in. When he heard about a cancelled event in Europe due to COVID-19, he immediately called a meeting.
Ryan explained, “I Slacked my management team and said, ‘Hey, guys, we need to keep our eye on this.’” “Somebody responded, ‘We have much bigger problems to deal with.’ I thought to myself, ‘No, we don’t. This is major.’”
Then the impact of the virus hit the US and one by one the events started to vanish.
“Within 72 hours, we had almost a 100 percent cancellation rate on all March events,” Choura said. “I have never cried so much in my life — on behalf of my employees who are now out of work. I went through 9/11, the recession in ‘08. I’ve never encountered anything like this.”
Aiding hospital facilities
He pulled himself together and began brainstorming, “During those first 72 hours, I started thinking: Hospitals are going to need our help,” says Choura. “I was like, ‘I know how to build temporary facilities. I could do this.’ So, we started calling our local hospitals.”
Within no time he was building field hospitals for local facilities and Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center. The construction of triage tents and field hospitals was well in his skillset, explained Choura.
“You really use the same skill set building hospital structures as you do event spaces.” “The difference is that you’re creating something for a patient that will potentially help save their life. I saw the first structure the day that it opened. It was so intense. I came back and I told my team, ‘Listen, when you see this in person, you are going to be changed. When you see COVID in person, the way medical experts are treating it — you are going to think differently about it.’”
Choura and his team are continuing their work in aiding healthcare facilities for the foreseeable future. Only time will tell when and how the events industry will bounce back. “Just like 9/11 changed going to an airport, I think COVID will change live events forever,” he says. “There’s nothing like live music. I just don’t think it’ll ever be the same.”