“Most of us have gone from our best year ever to a dead stop in revenues, but our expenses and overhead are still real, and many will not make it without help. Our employees, the artists, and the fans need us to act.”
That’s Gary Witt, CEO of The Pabst Theater Group, in an April statement announcing the creation of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Witt is a founding member of NIVA, a group that seeks to ensure the survival of independent music venues during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In Milwaukee, NIVA members include venues as large as the PTG and The Rave, and as small as Cactus Club and Linneman’s.
So what’s changed since NIVA was announced back in April? Unfortunately, the future of independent music venues has only grown more dire. Which is why the group is making a final push to Congress to support the Save Our Stages Act and the RESTART Act, “two bills that have been introduced to ensure the survival of independent venues across the nation.” A press release explains:
The Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258), introduced by Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar, and the RESTART Act (S. 3814 / H.R. 7481), introduced by Senators Young and Bennet and Representatives Golden and Kelly, provide vital support for independent venues that have lost nearly 100% of their revenue since the pandemic began in March. These venues will remain closed well into 2021 due to safety concerns posed by large gatherings. These institutions draw most of their revenue from acts that tour the United States, and until it’s safe to do so en masse, it won’t be possible for venues to bring back their staff. 90% of the 2,400 national members of NIVA have stated that they will be forced to close their doors if the shutdown lasts 6 months or more and they do not get meaningful support from Congress.
The push from NIVA comes ahead of Congress’ typically scheduled August recess, though that recess appears to be canceled.
What can YOU do to help the cause? Go to the NIVA/Save Our Stages website and submit a letter to Congress. It’s that simple. Use the form letter provided, or, better yet, write one yourself. Seriously, it’s that simple.
So do that. It’s now or never.