Bipartisan ‘Save Our Stages Act’ Introduced In Senate To Help Indie Music Venues
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the Save Our Stages Act, which would throw a lifeline to independent live music venues closed by COVID-19.
If passed, the bill will provide Small Business Administration grants for independent live music venues. The grants would provide six months of financial support to help keep venues afloat, pay employees, and keep businesses viable until concerts and live entertainment can resume.
Under the terms of the program, grants for eligible venues would be equal to the lesser of either 45 percent of operating costs from the calendar year 2019 or $12 million and allow the SBA to issue supplemental grants in the future if necessary.
Grants will be used for costs incurred during the COVID pandemic, as well as for rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, PPE procurement, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines.
Additionally, unlike earlier rescue packages such as the Paycheck Protection Plan, which was distributed to a wide range of recipients, the Save Our Stages act narrowly defines independent live venue operators, promoters, and talent representatives to prevent large, international corporations from receiving federal grant funding.
In total, the bill appropriates $10 billion for the grant program.
The introduction of the bill was applauded by both the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO).
“Our members told us months ago that if the shutdown lasted six months or longer and there wasn’t federal relief to hold them over, 90% of them would fold permanently,” said Dayna Frank, president of NIVA and CEO First Avenue Productions. “With no revenue and immense overhead, four months in, it’s already happening. The warning light is flashing red and our only hope is for legislation like Save Our Stages Act or RESTART Act to be passed before Congress goes on August recess. Otherwise, most businesses in this industry will collapse.”