The National Independent Venue Association warned that the collapse of the live music industry was beginning to take place across the U.S. as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and political inaction.
NIVA issued a statement after President Donald Trump ended talks with Congress over a multi-trillion-dollar COVID-19 relief bill, saying he’d only continue the conversation after the election on Nov. 3.
In the new statement, NIVA stated that would be too late for many of the 2,000 concert venues that make up its membership, and pointed out that a bill designed to support the industry had already passed and was needed only to be activated. “We have been sounding the alarm since April that if our members don’t get emergency assistance, they will go under forever – and it’s happening,” director of communications Audrey Fix Scheafer said.
“This is real. We need help. We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry. The Save Our Stages Act has already passed the House and has strong bipartisan support with more than 160 Congresspeople cosponsoring. … They know independent venues can be part of our country’s economic renewal once it’s safe to welcome people back – if our venues can survive this pandemic.”
Scheafer added that the group is also “hoping for the sake of our furloughed employees that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, as people are suffering through no fault of their own.”
NIVA’s stated mission is to “preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent venues and promoters throughout the United States.” The body explained: “These entertainment hubs are critical to their local economies and tax bases as employers, tourism destinations, and revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels and retail. Independent venues exist in every state across the country; they were the first to be closed, they will be the last to open. The economic recovery process will extend past just reopening the front doors, requiring solutions unique to the industry.”