National Independent Venue Association Brings Effort To Secure Venue Survival To Capitol Hill

Posted: April 22, 2020

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose members, employees, artists and local communities are facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in urgent need of targeted legislative and regulatory assistance. Today, NIVA sent a letter to Washington leadership proposing solutions to address the unique and dire situation facing the industry. Venues throughout the region: Pablo Center at the Confluence, The Plus, The Metro, Chippewa Valley Theatre Guilds Grand Theatre, Pinehollow - Eau Claire; The Mabel Tainter – Menomonie, Big Top Chautauqua – Bayfield; Pabst Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom, The Rave / Eagles Club, The Miramar Theatre, The Cooperage, The Back Room, Cactus Club, Riverside Theater – Milwaukee; Cavalier Theater - La Crosse; Hypervibe – Neenah; Liquid & Ruby, The Venue on Winnebago St – Madison; LuCille Tack Center for the Arts – Spencer; Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts – Brookfield; Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts - Fond du Lac; The Mineral Point Opera House - Mineral Point are strongly supporting NIVA’s ongoing efforts.

“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” said Dayne Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”

The letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is here.

NIVA is comprised of more than 800 of the most influential independent music venues and promoters across 48 states, including 24 independent venues across Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. Independent venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen.

Due to unique circumstances such as the indefinite closure of our industry and zero revenue for the foreseeable future, NIVA has requested specific funding programs to assist while we are completely shut down as the result of government mandates.  The goal is to enable independent venues to survive the shutdowns, reopen in the future, and once again contribute to the economic revival of our communities.

It is estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishment.  While we are small businesses, the estimated direct annual economic impact we bring to local communities is nearly $10 billion.

It will likely take months for venues to resume to their full performance schedules, but once they are permitted to reopen, capacity reductions may be required for safety. NIVA is also seeking national guidelines for large gatherings to occur in a safe manner. Uniformity across the country and throughout the industry will ensure artists can resume a tour schedule and fans can come and enjoy shows once again.

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