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

Venues Day International to debut in October

Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents 100s of grassroots music venues in the UK, has announced that its annual conference and networking event, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, will now take place in October.

To enable as many venues as possible to participate, Venues Day 2021 – which takes place at Earth in London on Tuesday 5 October – will be a hybrid event incorporating Venues Day Online, a day of virtual activity on 12 October, to ensure every venue in the country gets access to best practice information, advice and guidance as they emerge from lockdown.

Another new event, the inaugural Venues Day International, will take place on 19 October. A partnership between MVT and Live DMA (Europe), Music Policy Forum (North America), Canadian Live Music Association, Live Music Office Australia and NIVA (US), Venues Day International is the first global event aimed exclusively at grassroots music venue operators and owners.

Venues Day International will also take place online and feature panels, presentations and discussion on shared challenges and opportunities across the world.

“We are incredibly excited … to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events”

Venues Day is sponsored by Ticketmaster and Amazon, with additional support coming from Jack Daniel’s, White Light, ILMC and media partners IQ and NME.

Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, says: “Venues Day has long been a pillar for the grassroots community, but this year’s will be a lifeline to so many venues around the country as we inch closer to reopening. The sheer graft of MVT throughout the pandemic to support the industry has been truly inspiring to see, and we’re happy to do our part and sponsor Venues Day 2021.”

“Music Venue Trust offers invaluable support to our industry, and initiatives such as the Grassroots Music Venues Crisis Service have provided a lifeline for many over the past year,” adds Patrick Clifton, UK head of music for Amazon Music. “At Amazon Music we’re proud to continue our partnership with MVT, to help bring Venues Day to grassroots sites across the country, providing guidance and advice to ensure they can safely open their doors to music fans.”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust, comments: “Venues Day 2021 will further encourage collaboration and sharing, connecting venues across the world so they feel part of a growing movement to emphasise how vital they are to both the wider music industry and local communities. We are incredibly excited to not only be able to deliver the existing event, but to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and to be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events with our domestic and international partners.”

 


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.

NFT drop raises $200k for US indie venues and NIVA

Ten historic independent venues in the US, as well as the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), will directly benefit from more than $200,000 raised through a ‘golden ticket’ NFT fundraiser, according to Variety.

Last week’s fundraiser saw fans and collectors place bids to win one of ten NFTs depicting the participating venues, each of which came with a ‘golden ticket’ that will grant the auction winner VIP access and exclusive perks to future concerts and events at the respective venue.

All ten venues’ unique ‘golden ticket’ pieces were sold and notable winners included artists such as Shawn Mendes & Andrew Gertler (the Troubadour, Los Angeles), Tove Lo (First Avenue, Minneapolis), Dillon Francis (Neumos, Seattle), Pabllo Vittar (9:30 Club, Washington DC) and Tycho (The Independent).

Other participating venues included Bowery Ballroom (New York), Exit/In (Nashville), Mohawk (Austin), The Metro (Chicago) and Tipitina’s (Louisiana).

“For the second drop, many of the artists who have supported the cause so far will donate their likenesses”

The crypto-art was designed by Young & Sick, a touring musician and trailblazer in the NFT-space whose debut collection recently grossed over $1,000,000 on Nifty Gateway in March 2021.

Looking to capitalise on the success of the campaign, Young & Sick along with partners Goldflyer and NIVA, are organising another drop this Friday (16 April) on Nifty Gateway at 1:30 pm ET.

For the second drop, many of the artists who have supported the cause so far – Tove Lo, Dillon Francis, Pabllo Vittar and Tycho – will donate their likenesses for an NFT portrait series called ‘Nifty For NIVA’.

All proceeds will go to NIVA’s efforts to help struggling independent music venues stay afloat during the pandemic.

NIVA, along with Music Venue Trust and Back-up, will also benefit from an NFT fundraiser launched by Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger and Extraweg.

The audio-visual NFT features a loop of Easy Sleazy, Jagger’s new lockdown inspired track featuring Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, and visuals by legendary 3D artist Extraweg AKA Oliver Latte.

The exclusive NFT went on auction at 6 pm today (15 April) and will be available for 24 hours.


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.

US Congress passes $15bn Save Our Stages aid

The US Congress has passed the Save Our Stages bill, which will provide around US$15 billion in relief to independent music venues, as part of a wider $900bn Covid-19 stimulus package.

The passage of the bill yesterday (Sunday 20 December) followed a two-hour hearing earlier in the week, during which representatives of the grassroots venues sector made a “passionate and compelling case for federal aid before the US Senate”, according to Variety.

Passage of Save Our Stages by Congress is the final stage before it goes to president Donald Trump, whose signature will enshrine the bill in law. Trump supports the bill, according to White House spokesman Ben Williamson.

“I am especially pleased that this bill will provide money for bars and restaurants, and $15 billion in SBA [Small Business Administration] grants for theatre operators and small venue owners through the Save Our Stages act,” says New York senator Chuck Schumer, a co-sponsor of the bill.

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country”

“These venues are so important to my state and many states across the country; they are the lifeblood of our communities. They were first to close, and will be the last to open. The bill gives them a fighting chance.”

“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the Covid-19 relief bill,” adds Dayna Frank, owner and CEO of Minneapolis’s First Avenue (1,550-cap.) and board president of the National Independent Venue Association.

“We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides pandemic unemployment assistance, which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”

In addition to its Save Our Stages component, the wider Covid-19 relief act includes $600 in direct payments to individuals, and $300-a-week boost to unemployment benefits, as well as provisions for food assistance, vaccine distribution, transit and healthcare, Reuters reports.

 


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.

Spotify joins with NIVA to help US grassroots venues

Spotify has partnered with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), the newly formed alliance of US grassroots music venues, to help independent music venues across the US that have been shuttered throughout the pandemic.

The streaming giant has donated $500,000 to NIVA’s emergency relief fund for grassroots venues, which are still waiting to find out whether the Save Our Stages act will pass through Congress.

As part of its #2020wrapped campaign, Spotify has also taken over space on the marquees of more than 30 closed music venues to commemorate classic gigs that have taken place on the stages.

The campaigns include Alicia Keys at Riverside Theater in Milwaukee (pictured); Lady Gaga at The Ritz Ybor in Tampa; Childish Gambino at The Aladdin in Portland, The Weeknd at The Orange Peel in Asheville and Jessie Ware at Centre Stage in Atlanta.

“Everyone’s favourite artists started somewhere, and we’re thankful to Spotify for helping us to tell these stories”

“As 2020 draws to a close, the live music industry enters month nine of no shows, no income, no federal support, and ever-mounting debts. Music is what connects us all – as Spotify shows us, it’s what helped our friends, our families and our communities get through this tumultuous year,” says Stephen Sternshein, co-founder and treasurer of NIVA, and managing partner of Heard Presents in Austin.

“Everyone’s favourite artists started somewhere, and we’re immensely thankful to Spotify for helping us to tell these stories. The stories that artists like Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, The Weeknd, The Strokes, and so many more began on the very stages that today are struggling to survive.”

Dan Brill, global group creative director at Spotify says: “In a year that has taken on so many twists and turns, a first reaction might be to look forward and forget the challenging times. However, that would discount all of the amazing work that creators, fans, venues and activists have poured their hearts into this year.

“That’s why, instead of turning our backs on 2020, we wanted to give our appreciation for those who gave us hope — the people who, despite challenging circumstances, found ways to infuse magic into our world and give us hope for a better tomorrow.”

The Save Our Stages Act stimulus package, which is part of the ‘Heroes Act’, includes a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US.

 


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 biz faces “mass collapse” as Trump abandons talks

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has urged US president Donald Trump to work with legislators on emergency funding for the live sector, after Trump announced he is walking away from talks over further stimulus funding until after 3 November’s presidential election.

Trump, who is recovering from Covid-19, said yesterday (6 October) he has instructed aides to stop negotiations on a new stimulus package until after the election. “Immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill [sic] that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” he tweeted.

Rival presidential candidate Joe Biden accused Trump of “turn[ing] his back” on Americans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. “If you are out of work, if your business is closed, if your child’s school is shut down, if you are seeing layoffs in your community, Donald Trump decided today that none of that – none of it – matters to him,” said Biden.

Trump’s tweet came as an unwelcome surprise to NVIA, which is counting on the speedy passage of the Save Our Stages Act – part of the wider ‘Heroes Act’ stimulus package – to support the grassroots venue sector through a difficult winter.

“This is real. We need help. We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations”

In a statement, NIVA’s director of communications, Audrey Fix Schaefer, says anything less than the immediate resumption of talks would be disastrous for its hundreds of member venues.

“We have been sounding the alarm since April that if our members don’t get emergency assistance, they will go under forever – and it’s happening,” comments Fix Schaefer.

“This is real. We need help. We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry.

“The Save Our Stages Act has already passed the House [of Representatives] and has strong bipartisan support, with more than 160 Congresspeople cosponsoring, because they know independent venues can be part of our country’s economic renewal once it’s safe to welcome people back – if our venues can survive this pandemic.”

“We’re also hoping for the sake of our furloughed employees that the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will be extended, as people are suffering through no fault of their own,” she adds.

 


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.

Save Our Stages Act passes through House of Reps

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.

 


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 live sector adopts #WeMakeEvents campaign

North America is adopting the UK-born initiative #WeMakeEvents with a day of action that will see 1,500 venues lit in red to symbolise the live event industry’s red alert.

The call-to-arms, which will take place on 1 September, has been organised in the hope that the US government will take notice and provide the appropriate support by way of relief funding and necessary legislation.

“Live events have been completely halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” reads a statement from #WeMakeEvents, North America.

“Because our business is rooted in large group gatherings, we were one of the first industries to be completely shut down (early March) and will be one of the last to return to any operations (well into 2021), let alone restore former prosperity (likely not until 2022 or beyond).

“The live event industry in North America directly employs more than 12 million people and includes hundreds of thousands of businesses with a combined economic impact of over US$1 trillion. This likely includes someone you know, are close to, or it may even include you. If we do not receive government assistance the live events industry will literally collapse, including all of the people involved.”

The campaign sees #WeMakeEvents partner with ExtendPUA.org, which is requesting a continuation and expansion of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which supplements earnings per week for those on unemployment and opens up unemployment to 1099 workers.

The campaign comes after a survey conducted by National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a new alliance of US grassroots music venues, found that 90% of its members said that if the shutdowns lasted six months or more with no federal help, they would never reopen.

“We were one of the first industries to be shut down and will be one of the last to return, let alone restore former prosperity”

In April, NIVA wrote to members of the US Congress to ask for immediate assistance for a sector it says is facing an existential crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, the alliance is lobbying to push two bills through Congress before the end of August in order to keep independent venues nationwide from permanently closing.

The #SaveOurStagesAct is a new $10 billion grant program for live venue operators, promoters, producers, and talent representatives provides grants of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12 million (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.

The grants can 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.

The #RestartAct (Reviving the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery) is a new loan program that provides funding for six months of payroll, benefits, fixed operating expenses, PPE, accounts payable, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses, with loan amounts of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12 million (whichever is less).

It features partial loan forgiveness based on losses in revenue, a seven-year loan term, and no principal payments for the first two years. The bill also extends the covered period for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from eight weeks to 16 weeks. The Restart Act is currently moving through congress but has stalled.

NIVA is also lobbying for tax relief and additional unemployment insurance for employees of shuttered businesses.

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.

 


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.

Hard-hit grassroots sector focus of next IQ panel

Following on from The Innovation Session last week, the next panel in the IQ Focus series looks at the unique challenges that the Covid-19 crisis poses for grassroots music venues.

Featuring those working on the frontline to protect the world’s smaller venues, the Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis panel will look at what is needed to ensure these vital parts of the live music ecosystem remain in business.

Joining chair Sarah Slater, Ticketmaster UK’s vice president of music and festivals, are Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of grassroots venues charity the Music Venue Trust; Rev. Moose, co-founder of the newly formed National Independent Venue Association; Karsten Schölermann, chairman of German venue association LiveKomm; Lluís Torrents, president of Catalonian venue association Asacc (Associació de sales de concerts de catalunya) and co-director of Barcelona venue Razzmatazz; and Kathy Flück from Swiss venue the Dachstock.

Following a previous IQ Focus discussion on arenas, stadia and other large venues, the conversation now turns to grassroots venues which, although among the hardest hit by the shutdown, are likely to reopen earlier than many other parts of the business, bringing a distinct set of opportunities, challenges and questions.

Just what this reopening will look like, and what potential long-term changes can be expected, will be at the centre of the panellists’ conversation.

Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis will be streamed live on Thursday 4 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook or YouTube.


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 venue charges for concerts in private gardens

A venue in Evanston, Illinois, is bringing the live concert experience to people’s homes, putting on private, socially distanced gigs for households in their front gardens.

Space, a 330-capacity live music venue and recording studio that has hosted the likes of the Lumineers and Alabama Shakes, announced its To-Go Concerts series last week, with the first 30-minute micro-concerts by Jason Narducy (Bob Mould Band, Split Single, Superchunk, Verböten), set to take place on a number of local residents’ lawns on Saturday (9 May).

The concerts, which include take-away drinks and food from the venue’s sister restaurant, Union Squared, cost US$450 per household and are limited to audiences of ten.

The request line for the first set of concerts are now closed, with Space owner Jake Samuels telling local press that 60 people applied to have a concert on their front lawn.

Staff will be on hand to keep people at a distance and prevent neighbours from wandering over. The team will wear fully sanitised gloves and masks and move on to the next residence if overcrowding becomes an issue.

The concerts, which include take-away drinks and food, cost US$450 per household and are limited to audiences of ten

To-Go Concerts is the latest addition to the venue’s lockdown offering, which has run the free-to-watch All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Show virtual concert series since the venue closed its doors in March. Viewers are encouraged to make a donation of $5 via a virtual tipping tool.

The venue has also set up a GoFundMe page and is selling merchandise. The venue is part of the newly established National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), an alliance of US grassroots venues lobbying congress for sector-specific assistance.

Since 2018, Space has hosted outdoor concert series Out of Space, which has seen performances from the likes of Mavis Staples, Toots and the Maytals, Yo la Tengo and Jeff Tweedy. This year’s edition is set to feature Death Cab For Cutie and Big Boi. A decision will be made on whether the event will go ahead “very soon”. A stay-at-home order is in place in Illinois until the end of May.

Space’s To-Go Concerts initiative is an example of how to generate revenue and keep fans entertained beyond the digital realm, as venues grapple with continuing lockdown restrictions around the world.

Venues remain shuttered in the vast majority of US states, although some in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas are gradually reopening under certain restrictions. Arkansas venue, TempleLive, plans on staging its first socially distanced concert next week, with concertgoers assigned ‘fan pods’ – clusters of seating separated from other fans.

Photo: James Richards IV/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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.