Photo by Carson Church
As the music industry at large has reckoned with the coronavirus pandemic, members of Congress have proposed bills to help aid struggling small venues. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) introduced the ‘Save Our Stages Act’, which “would provide Small Business Administration grants for independent live music venue operators affected by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. These grants would provide six months of financial support to keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.” (Quote via press release.)
“Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues, many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close,” said Sen. Cornyn via the same release). “The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”
Klobuchar added: “Minnesota’s concert halls, theatres, and places of entertainment, like First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince famously performed, have inspired generations with the best of local music, art, and education. This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come.”
The ‘Save Our Stages Act’ is endorsed by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO). NIVA previously launched a campaign of the same name, asking fans to call for the passage of the RESTART Act, another bill that would aid struggling venues.
In a recent appearance on NPR, Audrey Fix Schaefer, a spokesperson for NIVA, discussed the dire state of existence for many venues around the country. “We did a survey of NIVA members a couple of months ago and found out 90% of them – 90 – said that if the shutdowns lasted six months or more and there was no federal help, they would never open again,” she said.
For more information on NIVA’s campaign and to call for the passage of these bills, head to saveourstages.com.