Electrifying performances and the roar of crowds inspired countless music lovers across the nation to get together and celebrate experiences that simply cannot be replicated elsewhere. So many memories made and relationships formed were founded on the floors of the local venue, a sentiment that today is certainly missed but must not be forgotten.
With the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic affecting nearly every facet of social life, one area that is specifically vulnerable is that of the music venue. Before the pandemic, the sentiment simply went without saying that independent music venues are crucial for the livelihood of music. Musicians both new and experienced led movements on local stages to inspire fans and keep their musical community vibrant. Excited people and an unlimited supply of creative energy kept stages lit and floors packed. Today, restrictions regarding public health and safety compromise the security of that dynamic - in one way or another, COVID-19 has taken its toll on creative communities. With closure of local spots and historic venues hanging on by threads in the midst of a period of empty venues, pressure has been placed on those whose livelihoods depend on the business of live entertainment.
The National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA, seeks to preserve independent music venues through the days of COVID-19 and beyond. 3,000 independent venues across the country have banded together to petition Washington in support of the Save Our Stages Act. The act involves providing a lifeline of financial support to live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives who keep the venues, and in turn their communities, vital. Additional relief through tax credits and unemployment insurance are also goals that NIVA is pursuing. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have led the act, though there is more work to be done.
As musicians ourselves, we at Russo Music cherish the opportunity to do our part and amplify this worthy cause. We now ask those of our community to do the same. By spreading the word and raising our collective voices, we can add to the chorus of those who have been touched by these venues and wish to see them open again. Supporters of NIVA and the Save Our Stages Act can join the cause at www.saveourstages.com where online petitions to congressional representatives can be quickly filled out and sent. With power in numbers and tireless support in the effort, more meaningful legislation can be passed to ensure the survival of these establishments and the vitality of the culture of music.
Losing these venues is not only devastating to local businesses, but to the culture of live music as a whole. While the legendary landmarks of live music may provide fond memories to a countless number of music fans, it is crucial to not let live music remain a memory.