Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar has co-authored the Save Our Stages Act with Sen. John Cornyn under the #SaveOurStages banner. The bill, under the same working title, is to help music venues closed by COVID-19. It will provide Small Business Administration grants to music venues that expect to be closed through the rest of 2020.
The bill, introduced Wednesday, asks for $10 billion in relief money to help venues through the next six months. The funds would be distributed via grants of up to $12 million per venue, or 45 percent of the venues’ operating costs in 2019.
The PPP and other programs do not work for venues, which are completely shuttered small businesses in need of long-term support that provides flexibility for the use of funds due to high overhead costs.
Venues are experiencing upwards of 90% revenue loss and will be closed well into 2021 due to safety concerns posed by large gatherings. Without support from Congress, 90% of NIVA’s independent venues across America say they will be forced to close their doors forever.
This would also take a toll on our local economy. Independent music venues are economic multipliers, community builders, and beloved institutions. A Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activities for neighboring restaurants, hotels and retail shops. Venues drive revenue to other businesses in cities and towns across America. What would Cincinnati be without our music venues? I hope to never find out.
These venues closing permanently would also impact the entire music economy and ecosystem in America; artists, talent agents, stagehands, security, catering, artist managers, tour bus industry, production, radio/social media/tv/print advertising, record companies, and many others.
The closure of these venues would be devastating for music lovers. The cultural impact of our venues on our local communities is priceless. We are the steadfast incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world.
Nearly 2,000 venues around the country have since signed on as NIVA members including our own; The Southgate House Revival, The Woodward Theater, Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society, Legends Bar and Venue, Ludlow Garage, MOTR, Nederlander Entertainment, Northside Yacht Club, Riverfront Live, Schwartz's Point Jazz Club, The Comet, and Uncut Republic.