Push to send federal aid to local independent music venues continues

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WRKG) — When Congress goes back in session at the end of the month, they’ll likely be voting on an act that is aimed at sending federal aid to independent music venues, called #SaveOurStages.

Music venues across the nation are struggling to keep their doors open due to COVID-19. They were some of the first to close down due to COVID-19 and will likely be the last to reopen. Several local music venues have joined the push to get federal funding to help independent music venues.

The National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA, is made up of nearly 2,000 independent venues across the US. They are all working together to ask Washington for targeted legislation to help them survive the pandemic. Soul Kitchen, Alabama Music Box, The Merry Widow in Mobile, and the Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola are all members of NIVA.

It’s called #SaveOurStages, and one of the specific things they are currently asking lawmakers for is to support the RESTART Act, which would ensure the survival of independent venues across the nation.

One of the owners of the Alabama Music Box and the Merry Widow says the pandemic has hurt business for the music industry across the nation. And if venues in bigger cities continue to not hold concerts, artists won’t tour, and won’t come to places like Mobile or Pensacola. And that makes it more difficult for them to bring business to their venues.

“In a city like Mobile there are only so many local musicians to rely on and we can’t, every venue in Mobile can’t rely on the same 10-15 bands that have a good enough draw to sustain us through 6-7 months. Can we survive? We could survive if everybody said yeah don’t worry about paying your bills until you get back on your feet. But, the likelihood of that happening is nearly impossible,” said David Matthews, the owner of the Alabama Music Box and the Merry Widow.

NIVA is asking for everyone to send a letter to Congress, asking them to support this initiative and ‘save independent music venues.’

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