CMA honours Bandit Lites’ Michael T. Strickland
Wednesday, 16 November 2022
mts-cmaMichael T Stickland
USA - Bandit Lites founder and Chair Michael T. Strickland was honoured with the CMA Foundation Humanitarian Award on 9 November at the 56th Annual CMA Awards live on ABC television.
The seldom given award is provided to “an individual who has served as a humanitarian through community leadership, financial support, personal volunteerism and advocacy.” Previous recipients include Kix Brooks, Vince Gill, Randy Owens, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton.
“I am indeed humbled to be honoured in this way,” said Strickland. “To be mentioned in the same group as the previous honourees is amazing. But, at the end of it all, it was not me, but it was the millions of great people in the industry that have listened, acted, and taken the time to effect change and take care of one another. Entertainment is a huge family, and we all pulled together starting in 2020 and I was simply the one steering the ship. I am honoured to have been given the opportunity.”
Strickland has worked since March 2020, up to the present as the face and voice of the entire entertainment industry before Congress. He called Senators Lamar Alexander and Marsha Blackburn to request help for the industry, and that journey has never ended, and when Senator Alexander retired, Senator Hagerty took his place.
During his legislative work, Strickland has appeared on major television networks, met with over 80 Senators and Representatives, and advanced the needs of the entire industry daily. He has worked on The Cares Act, PPP, PPP 2, Enhanced Unemployment, The RESTART Act, Save Our Stages and currently has The MUSIC Act before Congress. His testimony before the Senate in December 2020 was vital to the passage of Save Our Stages, which placed $16.25 billion dollars into a fund known as Shuttered Venues Operators Grants (SVOG). This became vital life blood for the entertainment industry.
Strickland began a small group e-mail in March 2020 to educate his friends on the progress he was making. The chain ballooned into 1.3m people with all phases of the industry from. Broadway, film, television, fairs, festivals, rodeos, concerts, ballet, sports and virtually every conceivable type of live entertainment looking to him for information, guidance, knowledge and assistance.
Strickland has travelled across the US meeting, speaking, and advising people and groups including an extreme amount of time in Washington DC to access the legislators. The entre journey has been designed, funded and executed by Strickland using his own time and money.
He is working now to assure The MUSIC Act is included in the end of year Appropriations Bill. The previous SVOG fund was shuttered with $1.75 billion dollars remaining in it, and The MUSIC Act seeks to reopen that fund to allow those people and entities that did not receive SVOG funding to participate. Live entertainment and cruise lines were the only two industries totally shut down for 16 months because of COVID.
While accepting the award, Strickland also said, “I would like to dedicate this award to the late Loretta Lynn, or mama as we called her. I started out with Loretta and Conway in 1969, and she gave me a shot when I was a kid. Onward and Upward!”

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