Congress’ Pandemic Relief Plan Includes $15B For Indie Concert Venues
It’s been a while since America’s struggling independent music venues have gotten any good news at all. Today, there’s finally a sliver of hope. As part of the $900 billion pandemic-relief package that finally was approved last night, Congress agreed to pass the Save Our Stages Act, which establishes a $15 billion SPA grant program for independent establishments.
Fortune reports that Save Our Stages will help finance venue employees across the US. With live music almost entirely stopped during the pandemic, the gig workers who make up the live-music labor force haven’t been able work. Hopefully, this will help with. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who joined LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy to speak in favor of the Save Our Stages Act in August, says:
I’m especially pleased this this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SPA grants for theater operators and small venue operators through the Save Our Stages Act… These venues are so important to my state and so many other states across the country. They are the lifeblood of our communities. They were the first to close and will be the last to open. This bill gives them a fighting chance.
The National Independent Venue Association, which formed at the beginning of the pandemic and which now represents 3,000 venues, has been pushing for the Save Our Stages Act for months. Hundreds of prominent musicians signed a letter requesting government assistance for venues in June, and artists like Foo Fighters and Phoebe Bridgers played in empty venues in fall to help benefit the NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund.