New York Independent Venue Association Releases Statement on Funding

With only days left in 2020, New York State has yet to publicly allocate billions of the $5 billion in Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) it received from the March 30, 2020 CARES Act. These funds must be spent by the end of the year.

 Cities and states across the country are stepping up to provide aid to independent venues in the wake of federal funding including Lexington, KYKansas, MOSaint Paul, MNSan Francisco, CANashville, TN, the state of Oregon, and many more.

Nine months into the shutdown independent venues in New York have received no relief from state or municipal governments.

In NYC alone, live music venues support 25,500 jobs, $722.8 million in wages, and $2.2 billion in economic output with another $400 to $500 million in tourism dollars that can be attributed solely to attending music-related events (source). 

Shuttered through no fault of their own and unable to reopen until it is safe to do so, independent venues in New York are projected to have accrued more than $135 million in collective debt since the pandemic began. While the Save Our Stages Act has strong bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, a federal relief package has yet to materialize.

These small businesses, which serve as financial  and cultural drivers in communities throughout the Empire State, are hanging on by a thread. For every $1 spent on a ticket at small venues, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated, so the economic renewal is also at risk should these venues shutter forever.

“Our members will not survive without help. I am grateful to Senator Schumer advocating for the Save Our Stages Act but we cannot keep waiting for federal aid. We need the state and local government to recognize that we are an industry that brings value to our state and communities. Every independent venue in New York is in danger of going under at this point, and other states are finding a way,” says New York Independent Venue Association (NYIVA) Co-Chair Jen Lyon.

NY independent venues are looking for a mere 1.5% ($75 million) of the state CRF allocation to save New York’s music and comedy clubs in order to stay afloat until a national aid package is passed. 

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