A just lately launched congressional invoice might present the monetary lifeline impartial music venues — like Cleveland’s Beachland Ballroom & Tavern and lots of others — so desperately want with income streams successfully lower off amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Save Our Stages (SOS) Act, launched final week by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, comes on the heels of the RESTART Act, which is designed to assist small companies with excessive overhead and no income due to the pandemic. That definitely consists of small live performance golf equipment.
However SOS is designed particularly for impartial music venues. It seeks an appropriation of $10 billion and requires leaning on the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration to supply grants that may present six months of economic assist to pay workers and customarily hold the small companies afloat. (You’ll be able to learn extra about SOS on this news release from its sponsoring politicians.)
As we detailed in June, that is one thing iconic native music venues just like the Beachland — which are inclined to stay on razor-thin margins of about 1% — really need to survive till live shows and occasions will be held extra usually.
The Beachland, which hosted the Black Keys’ first live performance, was supposed to celebrate its 20th birthday this spring simply because the pandemic kicked into excessive gear and stay-at-home orders have been put in place forcing artists to cancel exhibits and venues to shut. Months of occasions have been canceled. And the long run is something however sure.
The Beachland secured a small Paycheck Protection Program mortgage (i.e. lower than $150,000) and has used this down time to finish some renovations. It is pivoting extra towards meals, gutting the kitchen and transforming that, and placing collectively an area for outside eating. However it will likely be weeks till that each one comes collectively, stated Beachland co-owner Cindy Barber. Efforts are additionally underway to host livestreamed exhibits with out audiences.
There’ll have to be some actual money move quickly, and that is been expectedly onerous to generate. Barber stated simply this week she needed to transfer again a small present with Samantha Fish slated for the tip of August, the one occasion that month, to October. The Fish present would’ve included socially distanced tables and an area designed to accommodate a most of simply 64 folks, Barber stated — which quantities to simply 13% of the Beachland’s capability. However the state of COVID-19 instances led the nationwide artist to resolve journey is not definitely worth the threat.
Now, programming that was being lined up for September on the Beachland is being pushed again as COVID-19 instances stay elevated. If the tip of summer season was anticipated to be a lightweight on the finish of the proverbial tunnel, that mild is getting dimmer.
The SOS Act is backed by the National Independent Talent Organization and National Independent Venue Association. The latter shaped amid the pandemic and is now almost 2,000 members sturdy. Barber is on the NIVA’s advertising committee, whereas Comfortable Canine co-owner Sean Watterson is its Ohio lobbying coordinator.
“NIVA is getting suggestions from some Hill of us who’re applauding the music venues for with the ability to get effectively over 1.2 million emails despatched to Congress in the previous few months. That, I assume, is greater than virtually some other particular curiosity. So of us are paying consideration,” Barber stated. “And the fact is that if you add up almost 2,000 venues/theaters/producers throughout the nation, we signify numerous financial exercise that’s utterly on maintain till that is completely over. Venues just like the Beachland is not going to be again to full capability till effectively into subsequent 12 months. So how can we survive?”
The jury is out on that.
“Our members advised us months in the past that if the shutdown lasted six months or longer, and there wasn’t federal reduction to carry them over, 90% of them would fold completely,” stated NIVA president Dayna Frank in a news release. “With no income and immense overhead, 4 months in, it is already occurring. The warning mild is flashing crimson and our solely hope is for laws like Save Our Levels Act or RESTART Act to be handed earlier than Congress goes on August recess. In any other case, most companies on this trade will collapse.”
You’ll be able to go here to ship a letter to Congress in assist of the SOS Act.
This is an inventory of what the SOS Act would obtain:
• Narrowly outline impartial stay venue operators, promoters and expertise representatives to forestall massive, worldwide firms from receiving federal grant funding
• Direct the SBA to make grants to eligible venues equal to the lesser of both 45% of operation prices from calendar 12 months 2019 or $12 million
• Permit the Small Enterprise Administrator to challenge supplemental grants sooner or later if funding stays accessible and candidates can reveal want
• Allow recipients to make use of grants for prices incurred through the COVID pandemic
• Require recipients to return remaining funding after one 12 months from the date of disbursement
• Allow recipients to make use of grants for lease, utilities, mortgage obligations, PPE procurement, funds to contractors, common upkeep, administrative prices, taxes, working leases and capital expenditures associated to assembly state, native or federal social distancing tips
• Authorize the appropriation of $10 billion for the grant program.
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