Over 800 independent music venues and promoters across 48 US states have come together to join a new industry organization, aimed at keeping venues open after the shutdown has passed.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has been established by initial members including the “9:30 Club” in DC and “First Avenue” in Minneapolis as well as being supported by the “Independent Venue Week” initiative.

Social distancing due to the Coronavirus has forced the closure of all venues across the country. They were among the first businesses to close, and will be the last to open, causing a knock-on effect for everyone from performing musicians to venue employees and even neighboring businesses. Many will still feel the effect of these closures long after venues are able to re-open.

NIVA plans to support the industry by fighting for “the survival of independent venues, their employees, artists, fans and their communities”. More specifically, by promoting the interests of its members amongst congress, and advocating for financial support and relief.

The organization has so far written an open letter to congress asking for the Small Business Administration’s loan program to be extended and modified for the specific needs of venues and promoters. NIVA is also asking for tax relief, unemployment insurance and deferrals of debts such as mortgages amongst other assistance.

It is curious to us here at SIGNL that such an organization has not existed until now. It’s a shame that a pandemic forced this into being, but if done well, could be a major positive for live music venues going forward.

Membership is free, and those interested in joining can sign up here.

To date, we have not heard of any congressional response to NIVA’s requests, but we will of course be keeping tabs as things unfold.

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