As many companies in a variety of industries are requesting government bailouts over economic pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of prominent music venues across the US are banding together to make a request of their own.
Some notable venues joining in include the Troubadour in Los Angeles, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, and the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York among others.
“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 a statement to Rolling Stone. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”
The organization is issuing a letter today (April 22) directing it at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In the letter, they’re detailing their requests based on struggles facing live music venues in particular. As previously reported, it’s looking like the next time a concert is likely to happen won’t be until late 2021.
Independent Venues across the country are banding together to bring our fight for survival to Washington for targeted funding to help save our industry. We are calling on all independent venues to join us in our fight. Membership is free. Click here https://t.co/JjoVyCo5hH pic.twitter.com/fiL1NE3O0z
— National Independent Venue Association (@nivassoc) April 17, 2020
The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program is a loan service with $350 billion in funding aiming to help businesses during the pandemic. All small businesses are eligible, but NIVA is asking for extra funding as these businesses are facing complete closures unlike others who are facing partial shutdowns.
Potential revisions include increasing the $350 billion and extending the program until these places can reopen.
“Our businesses were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country and, unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen,” the letter reads. “Recently, leaders in both California and New York expressed skepticism about the return of concerts and live events until at least 2021, which means that in order to protect lives, our employees and artists may remain without jobs and we may be without revenue for an entire year or more.”
The organization is making other requests too. They’re looking at getting a business recovery grant fund for venues and other shuttered businesses like movie theaters. This will offer forms of tax relief and allow for continuing unemployment insurance for contract workers.
On top of that, NIVA is also calling on officials to increase virus testing and treatments as well as creating guidelines to help allow for large gatherings in an eventual reopening.
You can read the full four-page letter below. More information on NIVA can be found here.
What do you think of music venues banding together to request a government bailout? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.