Van Wezel Joins Artists Banding Together to Ask Congress for Support

Coconut Telegraph

SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JUN 26, 2020

Stating that “the collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating,” more than 600 of nation’s most cherished musical artists issued a letter to Congress asking legislators to provide urgent financial support for independent venues and promoters in the U.S., which are in grave peril due to the pandemic. Formed at the onset of the Covid-19 shutdown, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), now has nearly 2,000 members in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These independent venues and promoters were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen. They are at real risk of closing permanently if Congress does not take quick and specific action to address the unique circumstances of this still-shuttered component of the small business sector, which normally fuels substantial economic growth for the communities they serve.

The 600 artists sending the letter to Congress are joining more than 500 other touring artists and comedians with a combined social media presence exceeding 900,000,000 who have urged their fans to have their voices heard at SaveOurStages.com. So far people across America have written more than 500,000 emails asking Congress to #SaveOurStages. The artists’ letter to Congress says, in part: “We will know America is ‘back’ when our music venues are filled with fans safely enjoying concerts with abandon. The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric. In fact, 53 percent of Americans – that’s 172 million of us – attended a concert last year. “Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us 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, 9‚Äč0 percent of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.

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