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NIVA names first COO Cody Cowan

The US’s National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has appointed Cody Cowan to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

As COO, Cowan will oversee the day-to-day operations of the grassroots music venues alliance, working closely with NIVA’s executive director, board members, department heads, staff, and committee chairs.

He will be tasked with identifying opportunities for growth while cultivating a workplace that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, according to a release. In addition, Cowan will work closely with the National Independent Venue Foundation.

“As NIVA continues its evolution from successfully ensuring the independent music, comedy, promoter and festival industry will survive, we’re now focused on how we thrive,” says Rev. Moose, executive director and co-founder of NIVA.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that Cody, a seasoned music industry veteran with a history of success working in the civic, hospitality, service, and live events industries, is joining NIVA in this newly created leadership position of COO. He’s a leader and vocal advocate for preserving the cultural identity of his hometown of Austin and we know he will bring this passion, commitment and energy to NIVA.”

“As NIVA continues its evolution, we’re now focused on how we thrive”

Cowan joins NIVA from Austin’s Red River Cultural District, where he held the position of executive director. He has been working in Austin’s music industry since 1997, including at two of the most iconic clubs in the city – Emos and Mohawk.

Cowan later co-founded the Red River Cultural District in 2016, as the nonprofit’s executive director with areas of focus including economic development, grassroots organising, live music policy, and innovation for the live music and cultural tourism economy.

“It’s truly an honour and a privilege to be invited to join NIVA’s hard-working, talented team and to also continue to be able to serve our independent music and comedy community’s mission in creating a thriving and sustainable ecosystem,” says Cowan.

“Music and comedy are not only the soundtrack for our day-to-day but also our inner lives – they comfort us in difficult times; energise us in diverse and incomparable ways; and help us to find deeper human connection and purpose in an ever complicated world. I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity to continue to serve our music and comedy community and look forward to what we may all build together at NIVA.”.

Formed at the onset of the Covid-19 shutdown, NIVA represents independent music and comedy venues, promoters and festivals across the country. NIVA created and led the #SaveOurStages campaign, resulting in landmark legislation establishing the US$16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators grant.


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