The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) today calls for Congress to provide-long term federal assistance for music venues shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To support its call for assistance, NIVA released a Fact Sheet and Policy Ask document, which stipulates what will be required to save the industry from certain collapse.
“The demise of each independent venue also endangers Main Street USA’s comeback and a crucial component of music’s ecosystem. Independent venues are where superstars get their start,” the association said.
Formed at the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown, NIVA now has nearly 2,000 members in all 50 states and Washington, DC. These independent venues and promoters were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen. They are at risk for survival if Congress does not take quick and specific action to address the unique circumstances of this still-shuttered component of the small business sector, which normally fuels economic growth for the communities they serve.
Since the shutdown, NIVA members — entrepreneurs who have invested in their businesses and communities with their own lines of credit, loans, and personal guarantees — have had no revenue yet all of the fixed expenses keep coming, already driving some out of business. When surveyed, 90 percent of NIVA members said they will be forced to shutter forever if the shutdown lasts six months or longer and there’s no federal support.
Watch a public service announcement regarding the struggle of music venues to survive the lockdown:
The existing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), even with the recent modifications, will not save independent venues, as it is the fixed costs, like rent/mortgage, utilities, taxes, and insurance that still need to be covered, even when venues are not permitted to be open. Only a small fraction of NIVA members have received other government loans related to COVID-19, NIVA said.
Dayna Frank, NIVA president and CEO of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis, said, “The complete and instant shut down of every venue is devastating. Revenues have ceased, but overhead hasn’t. We’re fighting for the future of our industry, our beloved venues and our communities. This is the one time we’re asking for assistance to do that. Without it, we fail. With it, we can once again be the gathering places that bring back our communities. With it, we will stand on our own feet and once again generate economic gains for businesses around us and the tax base of our towns and cities.”