A new bill in the Senate is proposing new financial plans to save independent live music venues in the US.
The Save Our Stages Act, a $10 billion (£7.8 billion) Small Business Administration grant programme for venues affected by the coronavirus pandemic was submitted by senators John Cornyn and Amy Klobuchar yesterday (July 22).
The Bill would provide six months of financial support to keep venues afloat, pay employees and seek to preserve an economic sector that has been hit in most states since mid-March.
“Texas is home to a number of historic and world-class small entertainment venues, many of which remain shuttered after being the first businesses to close,” Cornyn said in a statement to Billboard.
“The culture around Texas dance halls and live music has shaped generations, and this legislation would give them the resources to reopen their doors and continue educating and inspiring Texans beyond the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Save Our Stages Act would narrowly help independent live venue operators, promoters and talent representatives to prevent large, international corporations from receiving federal grant funding.
“Minnesota’s concert halls, theatres, and places of entertainment, like First Avenue in Minneapolis, where Prince famously performed, have inspired generations with the best of local music, art, and education,” Klobuchar said.
“This legislation would help ensure that small entertainment venues can continue to operate, and serve our communities for generations to come.”
The act has been endorsed by both the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO).
“While existing government assistance programs have helped other industries, they weren’t tailored to meet the needs of small businesses like ours that have zero revenue, enormous overhead and no visibility into when we can fully re-open,” NIVA’s Advocacy Committee and president of Hartke Presents Adam Hartke said.
“The Save Our Stages Act will provide the assistance we need to get through the shutdown until we can reopen safely and once again become the economic generators for our communities that we’ve always been.”
It comes after new recommended safety guidelines for music venues and small events in the US to follow at the end of the coronavirus lockdown were recently published.