Leadership / 09.23.20
Live Venues Plead for Aid as Congress Returns to Session
Pollstar (09/18/20) Rendon, Francisco
With promises but no action on a COVID-19 relief bill in sight since Congress returned to session, live venues are imploring lawmakers for aid. A coalition of groups representing U.S. agents, venues, production companies, and other businesses wrote a letter to Congress on Sept. 16, pleading that representatives provide federal aid immediately, under the hashtag #DoNotAbandonUs. "From a political perspective, we get a lot of lip service, but no real action, especially from our local government or state governments," laments Robert Gomez, owner of the venues Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, and Underbar in Chicago. "How many dead venues do you need before you act?" Robert Mercurio, who co-owns the club Tipitina's in New Orleans, says while Live Nation and AEG-owned venues would likely have the cash reserves and resources to wait out the pandemic, independent venues play a vital role in the entertainment industry. Musician Bob Weir is concerned that many industry workers will abandon the sector if they are not looked after during the crisis. "They are going to have to start architecting a way of making a living that may be more dependable if we can't provide relief for them," he says. "And we may not get all of those folks back."
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Tags: News , Venues , Leadership , COVID-19 , Coronavirus