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NIVA ’24 conference draws highest attendance yet

Around 1,300 people flocked to the US independent venue association's third annual conference, held in New Orleans earlier this month

By James Hanley on 14 Jun 2024

NIVA '24

image © Taylor Mickal Photography

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) attracted its highest audience to date for its third annual conference, drawing around 1,300 people to New Orleans.

Featuring panels, workshops, networking and live music, NIVA ’24 was hosted across multiple member venues over four days between 2-5 June. Highlights included the announcement video of Milwaukee as the host city for NIVA’ 25, which featured musicians such as Alice Cooper, Jim Gaffigan, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Rufus Wainwright.

NIVA executive director Stephen Parker also announced the election of two new board members: Sean Watterson, president and co­-owner of Cleveland’s The Happy Dog, and Katie Tuten, founder and co-owner of Chicago’s The Hideout.

“Sean and Katie have been critical to the live community that NIVA has built as state and local leaders, vocal advocates for independent stages, and passionate representatives for the needs of the nation’s smallest venues,” says NIVA executive director Stephen Parker. “Their leadership, along with the leadership of our re-elected and continuing Board members, will be critical as NIVA strengthens our state and local policy development and undertakes research that will show the world the tremendous impact independent live entertainment has on the nation.”

“NIVA strives to be a place to learn about the issues, solutions, and best practices that uniquely apply to independent stages”

Formed in the early days of the pandemic, US trade association NIVA has grown to represent more than 2,000 independent concert venues and related music businesses.

Re-elected to the NIVA Board were Andre Perry from University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, Audrey Fix Schaefer from I.M.P. and the 9:30 Club, Brad Grossman from Helium Comedy Club, Grace Blake from City Winery, and Kira Karbocus from Newport Festivals Foundation. Hal Real from World Cafe Live, Jamie Loeb from Nederlander Concerts, Jim Brunberg from Revolution Hall and Mississippi Studios and Shahida Mausi from The Right Productions and The Aretha Amphitheater will also continue as board members.

Throughout the conference, more than 150 industry experts led discussions on the current state of safety, technology, maximising revenue, inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, booking, ticketing, and marketing. Panels included discussions on proposed legislation to protect consumers, artists, and venues from predatory ticketing practices, and the importance of best venue practices.

“The independent live community made our conference in New Orleans four days we’ll never forget,” adds Parker. “NIVA strives to be a place to learn about the issues, solutions, and best practices that uniquely apply to independent stages and the people that ensure shows happen.

“Our industry showed up and meaningfully contributed to those conversations. What we saw and heard makes our hearts full. We hope it energises our entire sector for the important work ahead throughout the year.”


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