Do you miss live music? Do you miss the thrill of being packed inside your favorite music club vibing to your favorite song? Well, this weekend, The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is partnering with YouTube to bring all your favorite bands together with a three-day virtual music festival to #SaveOurStages. #SOSFEST will live stream on NIVA’s official YouTube channel, October 16-18. The event wants to generate significant awareness, advocacy, and donations for the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, directly supporting our most vulnerable venues experiencing catastrophic revenue loss.
“Based on our creative-industry analysis, we estimate losses of 2.7 million jobs and more than $150 billion in sales of goods and services for creative industries nationwide, representing nearly a third of all jobs in those industries and 9% of annual sales. The fine and performing arts industries will be hit hardest, suffering estimated losses of almost 1.4 million jobs and $42.5 billion in sales. These estimated losses represent 50% of all jobs in those industries and more than a quarter of all lost sales nationwide,” According to Lost art: Measuring COVID-19’s devastating impact on America’s creative economy by Richard Florida and Michael Seman August 11, 2020
Chris Zacher, Executive Director for Levitt Pavilion Denver, joined other independent venue owners across the United States in conversations for NIVA in the latter part of last year, pre-COVID, and it was this over-reaching conversation about how can they compete with corporate conglomerates like Live Nation and AEG.
Once COVID hit in March, the group mobilized to advocate for themselves in Washington. They felt the strains of the shutdown and needed change to happen and show the devastation of the pandemic to creatives. By the end of March, Chris says 1200 venues signed up nationwide. Now over 3000 independent venues across the United States have joined this initiative, 90 of those are right here in Colorado.
Chris says. “We’re working mainly right now, on advocacy issues. We’ve gone from casual promoters to the lobbyist, in a short amount of time, and, we have to find, federal relief or about 90% of the independent venues across the US are going to, end up closing their doors for good here, probably in the next two months. It’s a pretty dire situation, and these are the venues that launch careers. These are where your local artists start and where up-and-coming artists tour to.”
NIVA has letters you can personalize to send to congress with the beginning statement that outlines the SOS: “I write today in support of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and ask you to please pass the updated HEROES Act, which includes giving America’s independent venues and promoters a fighting chance to survive. Doing so will help #SaveOurStages, assist tens of millions of unemployed workers, help small businesses, and uplift our communities.”
“There was a study done out of Chicago last year that showed that for every concert ticket that’s purchased in the United States, that person produces $12 in economic tax for the area directly surrounding the venue. So to add up those numbers and it’s an inordinate amount. Arts and culture are the third largest driver of the economy in the state of Colorado, producing roughly $1.9 million a year in economic impact. About 80% of that comes from live music. So this isn’t just a for venues? This is tax dollars and an impact that communities across our state depend on. The artists take anywhere from 85 to 100% of the ticketing revenue, and we depend on our bars and food and beverage service to survive. So without, being able to open our doors and pack our venues, we’re in dire straits.”
The #SOSFEST Airs October 16 live from iconic venues across the United States with equally iconic music acts. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Lumineers will be performing their sets from the Boulder Theater.
To support NIVA, donate, write letters, spread the word about the arts. In this world, creativity is often the one thing that can keep joy afloate.
If you haven’t already, please help us #SaveOurStages by telling Congress to ACT NOW!