Like so many service industries in the United States, music venues are struggling to keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic.
So, nearly 100 music venues and dozens of nonprofit performance stages throughout Ohio—20 of which are in Greater Cleveland—are asking their patrons and supporters to send a message to Congress for help.
The local venues are calling today, Wednesday, Aug. 5, “Ohio Day of Action” to persuade Congress to include them in the RESTART Act, or the Save Our Stages (SOS) Act—the current proposed Congressional relief package.
Representatives like Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge in Northeast Ohio have signed on to support the SOS Act, which authorize the SBA to loan small venues and performance organizations an amount equaling 45% of last year’s gross.
The loans would give venue owners time to wait out COVID-19 until it is safe to have budget-appropriate audiences again.
Music, comedy, and performance followers have so far sent 1.3 million emails to Congress.
The Day of Action prompts live entertainment supporters to send an email that says:
“Small venues and performing arts centers were the first to close and will be the last to re-open. They arguably represent the industry hardest hit by the pandemic. They are completely shuttered small businesses in need of support in order to survive until it is safe to re-open.
“These venues are economic multipliers, community builders, educators, and beloved institutions, driving tens of millions in attendance each year. Sadly, they will have no revenues from ticket sales for some time. These venues drive significant spending at other businesses, as much as $12 for every dollar spent on a ticket in small music venues to $5 million a month in economic impact from larger regional centers. In cities and towns across America restaurants, bars, hotels, airports, taxis, and retail shops, our communities will suffer without these significant economic drivers.
“Closing our stages impacts the entire live performance economy and ecosystem in America – artists, talent agents, stagehands, ushers, security, restaurants & concessions, artist managers, tour bus industry, production, radio/social media/TV/print advertising, record companies, and many others.”
The Greater Cleveland venues and nonprofits involved in Ohio Day of Action include Abbey Road on the River, Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, Bop Stop, CODA, Grog Shop, Mahall's, Music Box Supper Club, Nighttown, Now That’s Class, Pickwick & Frolic, Playhouse Square, R.L. Productions, Rock Against Dementia, Stella’s Music Club, The Foundry Concert Club, Happy Dog, Undercurrents, and Wilbert's, as well as many other organizations in Northeast Ohio and across the state.
NIVA is doing a push for every state to have a Day of Action. So far, nearly a dozen Action days are organized. For more information, call Cindy Barber, owner of the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, at (216) 702-8358, or Sean Watterson, owner of Happy Dog, at (347) 415-0288.