John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Coldplay, and Dave Grohl have joined more than 600 artists in signing an open letter to Congress entreating the United States government to support indie music venues that are financially sinking amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. On June 18, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) scripted the letter in an effort to save over 1,000 venues that are expected to close due to the revenue loss that has followed the ongoing, nationwide bans on live music events. In the time since, the letter has earned the support of many major artists, attracting hundreds of signatures from industry figures who are rallying behind the cause.
An excerpt from NIVA’s letter reads,
“The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric. In fact, 53% of Americans—that’s 172 million of us—attended a concert last year. We are asking you to support NIVA’s request for assistance so these beloved venues can reopen when it’s safe and welcome us and our fans back in. The collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating.”
The letter continues,
“Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most [musicians] have played on. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.”
NIVA was formed in April and includes iconic sites such as the Troubadour and the Whiskey a Go Go in Los Angeles, as well as New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The conglomerate is specifically seeking a business recovery grant fund for concert venues, tax relief, and continued unemployment insurance for those who would not typically qualify, such as contract workers and artists.
Featured image: Nancy D/Flickr