More than 800 music venues are asking for help in unprecedented times
This week marked 40 days since most music venues in the United States have sat dark. Now, hundreds of them have come together to ask Congress for help to ensure they can open their doors again.
A coalition of more than 800 independent event venues signed onto a letter to Congress asking for further aid, to help them weather the sudden halt in revenue caused by the global pandemic. Roughly 95 percent of Americans are under shelter-in-place orders because of the rapid spread of COVID-19.
The letter to Congress came from the National Independent Venue Association, which was just formed last week by more than 800 prominent venues. The venues include the Great Music Hall in San Francisco, the 930 Club in Washington, DC, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, and the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York.
‘Fear for our collective existence’
The letter, sent to House and Senate leaders Wednesday, commends the political leaders’ efforts to protect Americans amid the health crisis. It also details requests and recommendations to meet the needs of concert venues that have been forced to close their doors. Among the requests are flexible loan forgiveness, tax relief, and the establishment of a grant-funded business recovery fund for shuttered businesses such as independent venues.
“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis, says in an open letter. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”
A call for help
The venues’ plea to legislators stresses just what is at stake if the music halls, concert venues, and theaters closed for good.
“Our entertainment hubs are important economic multipliers for our local economies and tax bases as employers and tourism destinations, and revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail,” the letter states. “One Chicago impact report estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity was generated.”
See the full letter below.
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Journalist and author Danielle Nadler grew up in South Dakota, where a patient writing teacher fostered in her a love for stories told well. She's worked for newspapers in the Midwest, on the West Coast and the East Coast, and recently launched a storytelling company called Tales and Ales.