Myrtle Beach entertainers hope for unemployment extension as venues remain closed

Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Live theaters, concert halls, and sports venues were among the first to close and the last to reopen.

Performers at Legends in Concert continue relying on unemployment checks. They’re one of several groups still unemployed and hope leaders will agree on an extension as theaters, concert halls, and sports venues that they’re employed with are still closed.

The coronavirus relief package technically doesn’t expire until July 31. However, this week is the last time those extra benefits may be paid to several Myrtle Beach employees who are still out of work and relying on the extra $600.

Night after night talent would light up the legendary stage.

“The best feeling is walking through that curtain right when the show is beginning,” Tyler Hughes, performer and bass player at Legends In Concert in Myrtle Beach said.

Tyler Hughes was born and raised in Myrtle Beach. He always knew music was the dream.

“My father 20 years ago used to play the bass player and music director of legends in concert, so I’ve always kind of has family in this business and it’s something I’ve been working towards you could say my entire life,” Hughes said.

He’s one of several performers playing the same songs every night. He does it for the audience. For six months, Hughes has been unemployed as theaters, night clubs, concert halls, and sports venues have not been given the green light to reopen.

“Without unemployment checks, it would be difficult to pay my monthly bills,” Hughes said.

Hughes is one of several in the entertainment business hoping for an extension to unemployment funding.

“The entertainers, the independent contractors, who rely on this money to get by until they can wait and see if the theater reopens,” Christopher Tucker, the General Manager for Legends In Concert in Myrtle Beach said.

If it was up to Hughes, he would’ve already been back.

“I’ve worked in the music industry here for eight years, I’ve tailored my life towards that by getting my degree so looking for other sources of income is challenging,” Hughes said.

Hughes’s message to leaders: “Please consider extending the unemployment until I can go back to work… I miss it greatly.”

The Legends In Concert venue plans to sell about 200 of the nearly 600 seats in the theater tickets when Governor McMaster gives them the green light to reopen.

Performing arts and entertainment venues say don’t know when that will be.

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