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Save Our Stages Act passes through House of Reps

The Democratic-controlled House passed the $10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for the US live sector

By IQ on 05 Oct 2020

Gary Witt from Pabst Theatre Group, Milwaukee from SOS campaign video

Gary Witt from Pabst Theatre Group, Milwaukee from SOS campaign video


image © Save Our Stages

The House of Representatives has passed the Save Our Stages Act, a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the act on Thursday (1 October) as part of the wider, revised $2.2 trillion Heroes Act coronavirus stimulus package.

The Save Our Stages campaign was initially launched by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a newly formed alliance of US grassroots music venues, which wrote to members of the US Congress in April to ask for immediate assistance for a sector it says is facing an existential crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Subsequently, senators Amy Klobuchar (a Democrat) and John Cornyn (a Republican) authored the Save Our Stages act in July, which proposes grants of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12m (whichever is less), as well as supplemental grants of up to half the original grant if the entity is still experiencing 80%+ revenue loss as of Dec. 1, 2020.

“We’re cautiously optimistic our elected officials understand that if they assist now, we can be part of the economic renewal”

The grants could be used for payroll and benefits, rent, utilities, mortgage interest payments, interest payments, insurance, personal protective equipment (PPE), existing loans, payments to 1099 employees, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses.

Senator Klobuchar said: “We hope our elected officials come together on Covid-19 assistance in the coming days, not weeks or even months. Our small, independent businesses, which normally contribute billions of dollars to local economies, are on the precipice of mass collapse if this critical funding doesn’t come through.

“We’re cautiously optimistic our elected officials understand that if they assist us now, we can be part of the economic renewal of small towns and big cities, since for every $1 spent on a concert ticket at a small venue, $12 of economic activity is generated for area businesses like restaurants, retail shops, and hotels. This investment will pay off for communities and workers in all 50 states and Washington DC.”

The act was authored after NIVA published a survey revealing that 90% of its members said that if the shutdowns lasted six months or more with no federal help, they would never reopen.

Currently, NIVA has nearly 2,000 charter members in all 50 states, including 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue LeagueWorld Cafe Live in PhiladelphiaPabst Theater Group in MilwaukeeRed River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville.

 


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