Congress made headlines last night when they agreed on a new $900 billion relief package. Among the industries benefitting from the relief package are music venues.
In a joint statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the Congressional leaders offered up details on the relief package and noted the following:
“Democrats secured critical funding and policy changes to help small businesses, including minority-owned businesses, and nonprofits recover from the pandemic. The agreement includes over $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits and local newspapers, TV and radio broadcasters, key modifications to PPP to serve the smallest businesses and struggling non-profits and better assist independent restaurants, and includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The agreement also includes $20 billion for targeted EIDL Grants which are critical to many smaller businesses on Main Street.”
In a statement in response to the $15 billion in grant support, Dayna Frank, Owner & CEO, First Avenue Productions and Board President of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) said, “We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill.”
Frank added, “We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”
Back in July, the United States Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide relief to independent concert venues in the U.S. hit hard due to the coronavirus pandemic. Dubbed the “Save Our Stages Act,” the bill authorized “…the appropriation of $10 billion for SBA grants of up to the lesser of 45 percent of operation costs or $12 million of 2019 operational costs.”
In June, NIVA sent a letter to Congress that was signed by over 600 musicians and entertainers asking for federal assistance because, “90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.”