Due to the ongoing Coronavirus (or COVID-19) pandemic, concerts have been cancelled for the most part. With many independent music venues struggling to survive this crisis, artists across all genres have come together with #SaveOurStages initiative.
Last month, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, and hundreds of celebrities signed a letter to Congress with the #SaveOurStages initiative. “We, the undersigned artists, respectfully submit this letter in support of NIVA’s [National Independent Venue Association] request for federal assistance for independent music venues and promoters across the United States,” reads the letter.
Latinx acts attached to the project include Chicano Batman, Los Lobos, George Lopez, and Joan Baez. “Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us have played on,” reads the letter. “With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 90% of independent venues report that if shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.”
The Satellite in Silver Lake, Calif. recently announced that it will no longer host concerts and live events as it transitions into a restaurant to survive the pandemic. With #SaveOurStages, Congress is being asked to include independent music venues in the next COVID-19 stimulus package. Also, the RESTART Act is being put forth as another lifeline for the struggling businesses.
“It’s a bipartisan piece of legislation that’ll loan small business money, which can be spent more flexibly for rent payments, utilities, employment benefits, et cetera,” says NPR’s Andrew Limbong. “While it’s too late for clubs that have already closed, NIVA’s Audrey Fix Schaefer says this is the last chance for the vast majority of the ones left. There is no plan B.”
For more information about #SaveOurStages and to sign the petition, click here.