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Independent music venues get COVID-19 relief

Venues will receive funding as part of a new multi-billion dollar stimulus package

Independent music venues will get much needed assistance with the $15 billion Coronavirus Relief & Omnibus Agreement Congress passed on Sunday (Dec 20th). Democrats secured critical funding and policy changes to assist small businesses, including independent music venues, as part of a long-awaited stimulus package that’s seen a lot of back and forth in recent months.

“The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, and includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The agreement also includes $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) share in a joint statement.

The pair vow to “move swiftly” to pass the bill through the House so the government can distribute “urgently needed funds to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people as the virus accelerates.”

Independent venues are closing permanently all around the country due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Earlier this summer, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) formed the Save Our Stages Act to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues and promoters throughout the United States. The Save Our Stages Fest was held in partnership with YouTube to rally funds for more than 3,000 independent venues and promoters in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill,” Dayna Frank, Owner & CEO, First Avenue Productions and Board President of NIVA, says in a statement. “We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”

NIVA was formed at the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown. These independent venues and promoters were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen as coronavirus cases continue to rise and restrictions continue to threaten the future of live music.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.