With coronavirus essentially shutting down mass gatherings, the concert industry has been hit particularly hard. In these difficult times, a significant number of independent music venues have banded together to help everyone try to get through this period of extended shutdowns.

Newly formed, the National Independent Venue Association has 450 charter members spread across 43 states, including such well known venues as Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club, Minneapolis' First Avenue, Philadelphia's World Cafe Live, Nashville's Exit/In and many others.

The organization is not only fighting for the survival of the actual venues, but also to help out their employees, artists, fans and community during this time of crisis. Membership comes at no cost to venues and is accessible via NIVA's membership page.

“Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA board member and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “It’s just brutal right now, and the future is predictable to no one. We can’t envision a world without these music venues, so we’ve created NIVA to fight for their ability to survive this shutdown, which we hear could go into 2021. Our first order of business is to push to secure federal funding to preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.”

“Independent venues and promoters have a unique set of circumstances that require specialized assistance, so we’ve banded together and secured a powerhouse lobbying firm,” said Gary Witt, CEO of Pabst Theater Group and founding member of NIVA. “Akin Gump has been tapped to represent us, and that telegraphs to Capitol Hill that our needs are serious. Most of us have gone from our best year ever to a dead stop in revenues, but our expenses and overhead are still real, and many will not make it without help. Our employees, the artists, and the fans need us to act. But we are also an important income generator for those around us, bringing revenue to area restaurants, bars, hotels, and retail shops. Our contributions to the tax base far exceed our ticket sales.”

“If the number of venues and promoters that signed up for NIVA membership in the first three days is an indicator – 450 venues in 43 states and Washington, D.C. – we can say the independent venues and promoters might be in dire straits, but they’re motivated to fight for their survival,” said Rev. Moose, co-founder of NIVA and managing partner of Marauder which runs Independent Venue Week in the U.S. “In addition to going to Capitol Hill to seek funds, NIVA will also offer key survival tools to members by sharing resources, information, and providing guidance on the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program.”

See Tickets and Lyte have jumped into provide generous contributions in order to help NIVA's membership launch an initial lobbying efforts. In addition, NIVA is seeking more sponsorship from other organizations that would like to support their mission in helping these music venues and promoters.

“NIVA will grow to become a fantastic advocate and nurturer of independent venues and promoters after the pandemic. Survival today, prosperity tomorrow," adds Witt.

To see which venues have already signed on as members, head here. You can also reach out for more information at this location and keep up to date on all the organization's activities at the NIVA website.

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