Senator Chuck Schumer Announces Support for $10 Billion “Save Our Stages” Act
August 21, 2020
On August 18, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer met with “Rev. Moose,” executive director of National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and James Murphy, frontman for Brooklyn-based rock band LCD Soundsystem for a press conference that announced Schumer’s support and co-sponsorship of the $10 billion “Save Our Stages” act.
The press conference was held outside Baby’s All Right, a venue that had drawn crowds to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood to see up-and-coming talent, but has this year suffered a severe impact from COVID-19, like most of NIVA’s other 2,700 members. (A NIVA poll in June revealed that, without a funding boost by Congress, 90 percent of independent venues could go out of business.)
The Save Our Stages act, introduced in July by senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX), would allocate $10 billion to help live venues weather the COVID-19 pandemic with SBA-administered grants. Like a similar measure in the House backed by Peter Welch (D-VT) and Roger Williams (R-TX), the goal is to keep venues going so they can once again serve as wellsprings for economic activity when it’s safe again for people to gather together.
NIVA’s leadership noted that, according to some recent studies, as much as $12 in economic activity is generated by every dollar spent on live entertainment at independent entertainment venues, which often serve urban areas that might otherwise be subject to blight and decay.
The bipartisan Save Our Stages act focuses on providing assistance to smaller venues to ensure that the $10 billion in aid doesn’t get quickly siphoned off by larger corporate entities.
Schumer, who noted the direct contribution that independent venues make to the economy and the cultural wealth of big cities like New York, pledged to push for federal funding for smaller venues to be part of any forthcoming legislation offering pandemic relief.
More information from NIVA on Save Our Stages can be found, here.