NIVA 2022: Developers Key to Thriving Music Venues, Including DC Concert Halls

Michale Dorf
Michael Dorf addresses NIVA 2022 while Ben Lovett (right) listens during a panel on July 11, 2022.

At the inaugural conference of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in Cleveland, Ohio, this week, venue proprietors emphasized the importance of real estate in sustaining concert halls.

The driving forces behind two DC venues — City Winery DC and not-yet-opened Art Place at Fort Totten — agreed that becoming a developer rather than relying on outside developers was a potential key to long-term success for music venues.

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NIVA 2022: Independent Venues Set Advocacy Priorities for 2023

NIVA Advocacy Co-Chair Adam Hartke (left) addresses NIVA 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 11, 2022.

The city of Cleveland, Ohio, hosted this week the first annual conference of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), fresh from its massive victory in the fight for a federal grant program to compensate shuttered entertainment halls for more than two years of pandemic closures.

Several sessions of the NIVA 2022 conference focused on the Save Our Stages campaign to assist venues forced to close to support social distancing mandates and stop the spread of COVID-19 as well as the resulting Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program established by the US Small Business Administration in response.

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Around Town: SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience @ The Anthem — 6/24/22

SAVOR welcomed 110 independent craft breweries to The Anthem in DC on June 24.

SAVOR this year was full of surprises. Yes, it was still the preeminent gathering of craft brewers serving up beers in a large conference-style format. But this year, SAVOR was held at The Anthem, DC’s 6,000-person music venue, and it decidedly felt more like a nightclub event and less like a curated exhibit.

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Around Town: Progess360 Virtual Party @ Twitch, 4/21/22

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DC-based ForestPlanet, a 501c3 organization supporting forest restoration projects around the globe, produced an awesome ’80s Immersion Dance Party in February 2020, i.e. right before the shut-down.

Now, ForestPlanet aims to replicate success, but do so online at least for now. ForestPlanet is launching a new series called Progress360, and the first installment will stream live Thursday, April 21, Earth Day Eve, via Twitch. RSVP for free via Eventbrite!

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Around Town: The Wammie Awards @ Capital Turnaround, 3/26/22

JChris 54 Below Show
JChris performs live. (Photo courtesy the artist)

For over 35 years, The Wammie Awards has recognized DC, MD, and VA’s artists and musicians for their impact across the region. This year, ABC7’s Britt Waters hosts The 2022 Wammies at Capital Turnaround on Saturday, March 26.

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Required Reading: Neil Young, Joe Rogan, and the Politics of Streaming

Neil Young performs in Baltimore on April 28, 2011. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Neil Young, Contrarian

Neil Young has long been a contrarian. His restless relationship with Buffalo Springfield’s other members and management led to repeated band break-ups in the late 1960s. His partnership with Crosby Stills Nash and Young (CSNY) has been an on and off again affair for decades. During the 1974 “reunion” tour Neil traveled from gig to gig on his own bus, eschewing his band mates’ company. The ill-fated 1976 Stills-Young tour ended after only a few dates when Neil left the tour sending a telegram to Stephen Stills that read, “Funny how some things that start spontaneously end that way. Eat a peach, Neil.” If one peruses Neil Young’s Wikipedia page, his tendency to jump abruptly from one project to the next becomes abundantly obvious. Even his newsletter, published on the Neil Young Archives website (, is named The NYA Times-Contrarian.

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Around Town: Vote in the Wammie Awards Thru 1/31/22

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As of today, music audiences across the Washington DC region can vote for The 2022 Wammie Awards.

To date, The MusicianShip Wammie Awards has received hundreds of nominations for more than 60 music award categories representing 2021’s best music releases, talent, and community impact from the region’s music industry.

Vote today for your favorite DC artist or band!

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Best of the Year: Top 10 Albums of 2021 by Chris

Myles Kennedy
Myles Kennedy performs at Baltimore Soundstage in 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth)

Where 2020 was mostly a lost year for music, 2021 became a banner year for the industry. While much of the industry is still working to recover from the massive toll that was forced upon them by the pandemic, we fans have been gifted a plethora of music this year. Vaccines got in arms, bands went back on tour, and new albums were released in droves. So many new records came out in 2021 that at times it was hard to keep track of it all. There were multiple times that I was surprised by a new release, or I realized that I had completely missed a new album by and artist I loved. It’s very possible that there are still a few records that I haven’t listened to that I am certain to love.

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Around Town: Rick Allen of Def Leppard @ Wentworth Gallery (Bethesda, Md.) — 10/24/21

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Rick Allen of Def Leppard poses with his art at Westfield Montgomery Mall on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo by Chris Smyth)

Legendary drummer for Def Leppard, Rick Allen, made two special appearances in the DMV on Oct. 23 and 24. Showcasing his artwork at the Wentworth Galleries in Tysons, Virginia and Bethesda, Maryland, Rick took time to sign autographs and meet with his fans in attendance. The woman who was first in line at the Wentworth Gallery in the Montgomery Mall, was so excited to meet Rick that she showed up two hours before the exhibition was set to open.

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Around Town: DC’s Empty Stages by Ben Eisendrath

The Lincoln Theatre stands in silence in this stark photo by Ben Eisendrath. (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/ Instagram+Twitter: Insomnigraphic/ GrillworksBen)

Ben Eisendrath has one of the greatest assets of a photographer: a persistent curiosity.

When Ben carries a lens, he is intently searching for something to capture. You can see it in his eyes: What’s that guy’s story? What’s happening here? Or in this case, what’s behind those closed doors?

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