Remember how we used to go to concerts? I really miss it and can’t wait till it’s safe to go back. Until then, the problem is many of our music venues are sitting dormant, with very little way to generate revenue. This obviously hurts musicians, but it’s a major impact on the nation’s economy – when you take into account all the people these venues employ, from bartenders to promoters and yea, concert photographers!
Formed at the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown, National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), now represents more than 2,800 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. NIVA’s mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live venues and festivals throughout the United States. To learn more about NIVA’s quest to gain federal funding for independent venues, visit www.nivassoc.org/take-action.
How Can We Help Independent Music Venues?
First, check in with your favorite small venues and see how they are doing. Many are selling merch (see my Denver list here), having fundraisers, and/or pre-selling gift cards for when the world re-opens.
Watch #SOSFEST This Weekend
Another way is pretty easy – watch the Save Our Stages Fest this weekend, and donate what you can. NIVA is partnering with YouTube for a 3-day virtual music festival happening from October 16-18, 2020. #SOSFEST will live stream on NIVA’s official YouTube channel and will feature all new performances. This benefit event aims to generate significant awareness, advocacy and donations for the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, directly supporting our most vulnerable venues experiencing catastrophic revenue loss.
Who Is Playing #SOSFEST?
Hosted by Reggie Watts, the festival will include performances from 35 artists recorded live from more than 25 of the most storied independent concert venues across the United States, all in support of NIVA’s Save Our Stages advocacy and relief efforts for members of the independent music, comedy and arts community.
#SOSFEST will feature an intimate set from Foo Fighters and performances by Brittany Howard, Dave Matthews, The Roots, Marshmello & Demi Lovato, Kelsea Ballerini, Miley Cyrus, Monica, Reba Mcentire, Sebastián Yatra, The Revivalists, Portugal. The Man, Black Pumas, Leon Bridges, Yg and many more (full schedule below).
Alec Benjamin will kick off #SOSFEST on Friday, October 16 at 5PM PT / 8PM ET with a performance recorded live from the renowned Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles. Dillon Francis, Major Lazer and The Lumineers will take the stage for the final performances of the evening on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday respectively.
#SOSFEST will help shape a path forward for independent venues, touring artists and the live concert industry. Through YouTube’s sophisticated global platform, innovation in digital fundraising, and use of the most modern safety protocols and production tools for live performance to date, lasting changes can be made to preserve our nation’s independent venue infrastructure.
How About NOW?
Fans can donate directly to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits independent venues in peril, via NIVA’s Official YouTube Channel now.
Additional venues to be featured in #SOSFEST include DC’s 9:30 Club (one of my haunts growing up in Maryland!) and New Orleans’ Preservation Hall. Watch the #SOSFEST trailer below and to learn more, visit the Save Our Stages website.