The “Milwaukee hosting big events in 2025” trend continues: On Monday, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) announced that it will hold its fourth annual conference in Milwaukee in June 2025. NIVA, founded in 2020, is a national trade association “representing thousands of independent live entertainment venues, festivals, promoters, and more” throughout the United States.

Monday’s announcement was made at NIVA’s just-wrapped 2024 conference in New Orleans. Check out the announcement video below, featuring a bunch of famous folks with Milwaukee ties:

“Milwaukee’s independent stages have transformed the city into a must-perform destination for artists, and we’re thrilled to bring America’s live community there next summer,” says Stephen Parker, Executive Director of NIVA, in a press release. “Independent live entertainment has become a centerpiece of Milwaukee’s tourism, economic development, and vibrancy. We can’t wait to celebrate and showcase the world’s next great music and performance city.”

NIVA 2025 will feature “panels, programming, and live entertainment” hosted at various Milwaukee venues, as well as other locations throughout the city.

Gary Witt, President and CEO of Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater Group, is a founding member of NIVA. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the group spearheaded the #SaveOurStages campaign. The campaign led to the creation of the $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program.

“If NIVA gave birth to a baby, it most likely would look very much like Milwaukee,” Witt says in the press release. “Milwaukee is a city filled with beautiful, historic independent live entertainment venues that have, without the assistance of the national players, helped to build community and loyalty and define the city’s soul and identity. Collectively, Milwaukee’s independent venues drive a significant portion of entertainment and nightlife revenue and help to attract new development and residents to our downtown—which is exactly why we founded NIVA in the first place. We are thrilled for our city to be the host of the NIVA ’25, and we welcome promoters and industry veterans from all over the country to experience Milwaukee, an epicenter of NIVA independent venues.”

“We are so thrilled to welcome NIVA’s annual conference to Milwaukee next year,” says Peggy Williams-Smith, President and CEO of Visit Milwaukee, in the press release. “We know NIVA ’25 attendees will find a supportive community rich in amenities, like world-class dining and museums, plus beautiful venues, a thriving Milwaukee Theater District, and so much more. We are very grateful to the team of locals led by Pabst Theater Group’s Gary Witt who helped win this convention and ultimately showcase Milwaukee as a premier live entertainment and convention destination.”

More details on NIVA 2025 will be released soon.

Want more Milwaukee Record? Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter and/or support us on Patreon.


It’s now or never: Tell Congress to #SaveOurStages

About The Author

Avatar photo
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.