NIVA Fights to ‘Save Our Stages’ [News]
This issue was originally written in September of 2020.
Nashville is at risk of closing down its independent music venues. According to the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), the Music City has 13 weeks until only one venue could be left. Without COVID relief, chances are grim not just for Nashville, but for independent venues across the country.
NIVA, however, won’t let these venues go down without a fight. The association created SaveOurStages.com; a campaign that advocates for the Save Our Stages Act, which would supply federal funding to independent venues in all 50 states. In addition, they also support the Restart Act, which would adjust the Paycheck Protection Program to work for businesses that have zero revenue, high overhead and no clear timeline for reopening.
“Every day, I get between one and three emails about another venue who will be forced to close permanently,” Head of Communications for NICA, Audrey Fix Schaefer, told Vice Media.
According to NIVA, nearly two million emails were sent to all Congress members, which resulted in bipartisan support for the initiatives. 150 Congress members sent letters to the House and Senate, which were supported by Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.
“Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced the bill on July 22,” said NIVA communication coordinator Jordan Grobe. “As Congress keeps failing to act, we keep pushing ahead and we keep contacting senators and representatives, and we keep adding on co-sponsors to the Save Our Stages Act.” Congress has yet to decide on a stimulus package, so nothing has been done to move these acts forward.
NIVA has also gained support from dozens artists such as Mavis Staples, Lady Gaga, André 3000, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Billie Ellish, Gary Clark Jr, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Miranda Lambert, Billy Joel, Earth Wind & Fire, Leon Bridges, Wyclef Jean, Bon Iver, Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.
Even the EDM community went on the record when Diplo stated his advocacy on Instagram.
“I came up playing tiny shows in Florida,” he said. “I wouldn’t be anywhere without small venues. The Save Our Stages Act throws a life vest to a cornerstone of American culture. It has the potential to save spaces not just in Florida, but nationwide. Let’s do something together for once. Let’s keep the music alive.”