Coachella and SXSW’s Staging Company Is Building COVID-19 Triage Tents

Choura Events is putting their structure-building skills to life-saving use.

In the age of COVID-19, entire industries are collapsing, while others are adapting to fit into the new landscape. For Ryan Choura, chief executive of Choura Events, March and April typically signal a whirlwind of work. His company builds temporary staging for high-profile events like SXSW, Coachella, and Stagecoach, as well as the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.

With his entire calendar wiped clean due to the coronavirus, Choura Events has suddenly been thrust from the forefront of festival season onto the front lines of the pandemic, opting to use their skills to build triage tents.

“I felt devastated by the changes in the business, how to make payroll and take care of our employees. I’ve never cried more than in the last 14 days,” Choura told the LA Times from the Fountain Valley Regional Medical Center, one of four “medical villages” his company is erecting across Los Angeles.

“We pivoted so fast to being a rapid-response disaster relief team,” he continues. “If I didn’t know how to do Coachella, I couldn’t do this hospital. I saw patients coming in here and saw what they looked like. This is real, and we’ve got to move.”

In addition to saving lives, it allows Choura to keep his people working: “I’ve got 14 guys on this site building who would be sitting at home. I’ve been more fulfilled over the last few weeks than over the last decade. It’s very meaningful to feel like you’re part of saving a life.”

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