As the global impacts of the pandemic continue to unfold, independent music venues are among the several businesses facing the economic toll of COVID-19. In order to preserve hundreds of entertainment hubs, the National Independent Venue Association was formed as a direct response to the pandemic. The newly created organization has nearly 2,000 charter members from all 50 states including the Black Box in Denver, Michigan’s ELEKTRICITY, Republic NOLA, and Dallas’ The Bomb Factory.
A recent survey from the NIVA shows that up to 90% of independent music venues could be permanently shut down without federal funding. This major slug to the industry pushes a $9,000,000 loss in ticket sales alone if venues remain closed through 2020.
To prevent the major economic turmoil, the NIVA called upon Washington leadership to provide long term assistance financially. Specifically, the organization requests a change to the Paycheck Protection Program to cover six months worth of benefits, payroll, and fixed operating costs such as rent/mortgage, taxes, utilities, and insurance.
“Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be months away. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue.”
“Despite being necessary to prevent the spread of COVID 19, new federal, state, and local capacity limitations and other restrictions will likely inhibit the live entertainment industry’s ability to recover for years.”
“These venues support the economies of communities across the country, are a crucial component of the music industry’s ecosystem, and serve as incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world. We can provide a vital lifeline for the industry that will help to sustain the iconic venues that are central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.”
Supporters sent more than 500,000 emails, reaching all 538 members of Congress. Following the uproar, a group of nearly 150 members of Congress from both parties sent letters off to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer expressing their support for the NIVA’s requests.
The decision to save independent music venues now lies upon the government. However, artists and the general public can still take action by visiting SaveOurStages.com. The site provides the option to send a letter to local and state representatives to encourage the passage of legislation.
Photo credit: JV Productions.