WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM) – Congressmen Roger Williams (R-TX-25) and Peter Welch (D-VT-At large) introduced the Save Our Stages Act on Thursday, to provide grants from the Small Business Administration to independent music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Senate companion version of the legislation.
“Live music venues have been uniquely affected by the government’s actions during COVID-19, especially here in the Austin area. Unlike some businesses on the road to recovery, music venues that have been cultural staples for generations will continue to bear the negative impacts of the pandemic for the foreseeable future,” said Congressman Williams. “I’m proud to introduce the Save Our Stages Act to help preserve these iconic venues that define states like Texas and create thousands of jobs while generating billions of dollars into our economy. It’s my hope that with the help of Congress, our venues will once again be able to open their doors to thousands of concertgoers and welcome their next act to the stage.”
The industry was especially hard hit following state shutdown orders. Live music venues were the first to close, losing revenue despite having to pay rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance and taxes. And they will likely reopen last.
Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be months away. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue. The continued closures will impact the hundreds of contractors, suppliers, and business partners that support the country’s live entertainment industry.
“As an owner of an independent live music venue, as well as a recording artist that has toured all over the country playing thousands of rooms, I know firsthand how much our industry is hurting,” said country musician, Randy Rogers. “These small rooms, dance halls, theaters and amphitheaters are not only integral parts of their communities, but they are also the livelihood for countless road warriors. If these doors close forever, we may never discover the next George Strait or Jay Z. The time to support these small business owners and preserve our music culture is now, before it’s too late.”
Endorsed by music industry advocacy groups, the bill would provide $10 million in funding for six months of short-term economic relief to independent music venues around the country.