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NIVA appoints executive director

Stephen Parker will be tasked with ensuring that music venues, festivals and promoters have a voice at federal, state and local levels

By James Hanley on 16 Jan 2023

Stephen Parker

image © Elijah Griffin

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has appointed Stephen Parker as executive director.

Parker’s career includes a near decade-long stint at the National Governors Association where he directed intergovernmental and congressional affairs. He also served as an advisor and consultant at the Country Music Association.

In his new role, Parker will be tasked with working with NIVA’s board and staff to grow the association’s membership, expand national partnerships that advance the live entertainment sector, promote diversity and equity across independent venues and ensure that music venues, festivals and promoters have a voice at the federal, state and local levels.

“Independent venues and festivals are a platform for artists, an inspiration for fans and an economic driver in every state and community,” says Parker. “It is an honour to be selected as NIVA’s executive director and to join an incredible team that has been working to preserve and promote the stages where music and comedy live.

“I look forward to working with the board of directors to ensure that live entertainment venues, festivals and promoters have the resources they need to survive and thrive, to advocate for equity across music and comedy ecosystems and to place NIVA at the forefront of policy discussions nationwide.”

Formed in the early days of the pandemic, NIVA has grown to represent more than 2,000 independent concert venues and related music businesses and played a crucial role in securing state and federal funding to help keep the lights on for its members during the shutdown.

“It’s hard to believe that NIVA didn’t even exist just three years ago”

“It’s hard to believe that NIVA didn’t even exist just three years ago,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA board president and CEO of First Avenue Productions. “We’re all very grateful for the founding executive director, Rev Moose. His efforts and guidance during those incredibly frightening and formative times helped us pass the largest arts funding programme in US history.

“Now, we look forward with immense optimism to NIVA’s next crucial chapter of growth and development to best serve members who fight tirelessly to improve their communities, workplaces and entertainment experiences. With Stephen’s leadership, energy, and enthusiasm we are in the best possible hands. His experience with advocacy and relationship development in a longtime successful association will ensure we flourish together today, tomorrow and in the future. We’re so lucky to have his determination and expertise.”

NIVA’s advocacy played a key role in the $16 billion Save Our Stages act, which passed in December 2020 and which was ultimately launched in May 2021 after some hiccups by the Small Business Administration. In 2021, meanwhile, it was honoured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony for the role it has played in helping the country’s indie venues to survive the pandemic.

Last July, almost 600 music industry representatives attended the inaugural NIVA Conference in Cleveland, which coincided with the start of Independent Venue Week in the US.


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