fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

US venues able to apply for relief after ‘harrowing’ wait

More than two weeks after its failure to launch, the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Shuttered Venue Relief Grant (SVOG) was finally reopened on Monday (26 April).

The operators of shuttered US venues have endured a ‘harrowing’ 18-day wait to apply for a share of the $16 billion in federal relief aid, after the SBA opened and closed the portal on 8 April due to technical difficulties.

After several more stops and starts, the SBA reopened the portal on Monday and in its first 24 hours, received more than 17,000 applications and submitted nearly half of them, according to Variety.

A rep told Variety on Tuesday (27 April), “As of noon ET today [24 hours open], the SVOG portal had received 17,356 applications and, of those, 9,472 had been started and 7,884 had been submitted.” Further information is expected in the coming days.

“From 8 April to 26 April, we were all swinging from a rope”

“Well, that was harrowing,” says Frank Riley, High Road Touring/National Independent Touring Organisation (NITO) executive board.

“From 8 April to 26 April, we were all swinging from a rope. Daily, a thread would break and finally, down to the very end… we made it. We got through. We saw the endpoint of all we have worked toward this past year. Once again, the camaraderie and support we have offered each other was manifest throughout the day, either on emails or by text, or just shouting out the window.

“Now, we all have to wait for the process to make its way through the SBA system and continue to hope for the best. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, your work, your diligence – and for all of the memes that made us giggle throughout the day.”

“We still need the approval process to be a swift one, as people are neck deep, water rising, hands in the air”

Nadia Prescher, Madison House/NITO executive board, says: “Most of our committee knew that the site was going to crash so sadly, I was not surprised on April 8. What I didn’t expect was 18 more days before the portal would reopen. Each day created more intensity for our members and other stakeholders. However, the pressure on the SBA employees assigned with this task is filled with intensity.

“As dire as our position has been, I personally do not envy the work taken on by the SBA staff. The SBA not only had to take a crash course on the independent music business during a global pandemic (with all of its nuances and intricacies), but they were also simultaneously badgered by hundreds of congressional leaders. Yes they made some missteps, but in the end, the SBA and its SVOG committee took the time to fix the issues and the process Monday accomplished the job at hand.. but it’s not over. We still need the approval process to be a swift one, as people are neck deep, water rising, hands in the air, reaching for SBA life preservers.”

The SVOG, also known as the Save Our Stages Act, is part of a $1.9 billion American Rescue Package which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on 11 March.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Vax4Live: US business promotes vaccine awareness

The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), which represents more than 200 booking agencies and management companies in the US, has partnered with companies across the live music sector for Vax4Live, a campaign aimed at countering misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines.

NITO, which launched with just 14 members last summer, has joined forces with partners including AEG Presents, Red Light Management, the Independent Promoter Alliance, the International Association of Venue Managers and Universal Attractions Agency, for the national campaign, which provides fans with the facts about the vaccines – with NITO warning that “trepidation” about getting immunised against the Covid-19 will hinder live music’s post-pandemic recovery.

VaxLive will focus on “spreading awareness, gathering support, acquiring partners and preparing calls to action and initiatives that will provide guidance, resources and factual information regarding vaccination efforts and how we can safely return to live events”, according to a launch statement.

“Equitable vaccine access and distribution are the only path forward for live events”

“The initial phase of this campaign, coinciding with the website launch, will focus on getting the word out as far and wide as possible, while providing sources to help answer questions and concerns regarding the vaccines,” explains agent Wayne Forte, on behalf of NITO. “Vax4Live provides a central source through which information can be gathered and we can engage additional partners and organisations to further amplify our efforts.”

Sheri Sternberg of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, another founder supporter of Vax4Live, says: “Equitable vaccine access and distribution are the only path forward for live events. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass enthusiastically supports the efforts of Vax4Live and the mission to get music fans properly educated and vaccinated.”

At press time, nearly 95 million Americans, or 29% of the US population, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

US concert biz offers skills and staff for vaccinations

The major American promoters, venue operators and industry associations have formally offered their venues, staff and expertise towards the United States’ national Covid-19 vaccination effort.

In a letter to new US president Joe Biden (pictured), Live Nation, AEG Presents, Oak View Group, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and others pledge their resources towards the vaccination programme – saying the live industry, whose venues are empty and staff furloughed, is in a “unique position to help”.

Staff are “eager to help out and get back to work”, adds the letter, which is also addressed to Norris Cochran, the acting secretary of health and human services; Dr Rochelle Walensky, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Contro; Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease’s services division; and Bechara Choucair, the White House’s vaccinations coordinator.

“It’s human nature to come together in good times and bad, and our industry is committed to doing everything in our power to bring people together again, not just for events, but for every aspect of community that we have been missing,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. “Live Nation has venues across the country that are capable of managing critical onsite elements of the vaccine rollout and we are eager to pitch in and be part of the solution.”

Dayna Frank, CEO of First Avenue Productions and president of NIVA, adds: “Since the pandemic shuttered our industry almost a year ago, our buildings and our co-workers have been paused, unutilised and struggling. These vaccines are our best chance at putting Covid-19 behind us, and our experiences organising events and managing crowds now put us in the unique position of being the best-prepared and most qualified industry to support the vaccination effort and get this country on the road to recovery.”

“We are the best-prepared and most qualified industry to support the vaccination effort and get this country on the road to recovery”

Other organisations offering their help are the International Association of Venue Managers; lighting company Bandit Lites; #WeMakeEvents North America; the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; theatre industry association Broadway League; the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO); and musical instrument trade body NAMM.

Live venues are already playing a key role in the immunisation process internationally, with concert halls, arena and stadia, and convention and conference centres offering their services as mass-vaccination sites.

Venues are, according to a statement from the group, perfectly suited to doubling as vaccination centres, given that they are designed for queueing and crowd control, located near parking or public transport and have wide, clear interiors, as well as regulated/ticketed entrances and exits.

“The entire live event industry has stood still since March, 2020. We all stand united now, ready to assist in the safe, rapid delivery of the vaccine from a people-moving perspective,” says Bandit Lites chair Michael T. Strickland.

Agent Wayne Forte, president of Entourage Talent Associates and member of NITO’s executive committee, comments: “We are here to help. In fact, many venues are already working on the state and local level to implement vaccine programmes. Our industry owns, leases and/or has access to thousands of venues throughout America, most that are under mandated closures and sitting empty. Event venues make ideal community vaccination sites.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Indie agencies join forces for advocacy group

A group of 14 independent talent agencies in the US has formed the National Independent Talent Organization (Nito), a non-profit advocacy group aiming to help small businesses through the Covid-19 crisis.

The founding companies, which include Entourage Talent, Ground Control Touring, New Frontier Touring and Skyline Artists Agency, together represent more than 2,000 artists and look to “promot[e] the welfare and prosperity of its members and their represented artists”, as well as working to protect the live music community as a whole.

The group has invited other small business within the US live music ecosystem, as well as majority owner-operated independent management companies, artists, crew and other live touring entities, to join them as associate members.

As of press time, Nito’s total membership stands at over 50 members and growing.

“We are speaking out collectively for ourselves and all those that we individually work to generate income for,” comments Wayne Forte, owner of Entourage Talent. “[That’s] not simply the musical artists we represent, but the thousands and thousands of people who rely on our industry and our work for their living.

“We are speaking out collectively for ourselves and all those that we individually work to generate income for”

“We have to continue to do this while inadvertently helping to frame and preserve the soundtrack of millions and millions of lives.”

While Nito states it is “still unknown” when live music as we know it will return, the group “will fight to keep this community alive until it’s safe again to gather with friends and other fans to share these experiences that are some of the best moments of our lives.”

The group follows the formation of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in the US earlier this year.

A full list of Nito founding members can be found below:

Entourage Talent / Wayne Forte
Ground Control Touring / Eric Dimenstein
High Road Touring / Frank Riley
Leave Home Booking / Stormy Shepherd
Madison House / Nadia Prescher
Mongrel Music / Brad Madison
New Frontier Touring / Paul Lohr
Panache Booking / Michelle Cable
Partisan Arts / Tom Chauncey, Hank Sacks
Pinnacle Entertainment / Scott Sokol
Sound Talent Group / Dave Shapiro
Skyline Artists Agency / Mark Lourie, Bruce Houghton
TKO / Steve Schenck
The Kurland Agency / Ted Kurland, Jack Randall

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.