#SaveOurStages: 600 Artists, Including Robert Plant, Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Joni Mitchell and More, Sign Letter Asking Congress to Help Indie Venues Survive COVID-19 Shutdown

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

It’s time to #SaveOurStages. Among the many devastating hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few months is the chaos thrown into the live music world — and, specifically, the insecurity of independently-owned music venues (“indie venues”) to be able to survive.

Extreme financial hardship has stricken many of these venues, with a coalition being formed by venues to vocalize their need for assistance. NIVA (the National Independent Venue Association) warned recently in a plea for more federal funding that 90% of venues might have to close permanently, unless more aid comes their way.

NIVA’s message was amplified this week in a formal letter sent to Congress, featuring 600 signatures from prominent music figures and artists.


Among those who supported the letter are Robert Plant, Dave Grohl, Lady Gaga, Neil Young, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, André 3000, Billy Joel, Kacey Musgraves, Bon Iver, St. Vincent, Trent Reznor, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Earth Wind & Fire, Vampire Weekend, Alice Cooper, Jack Black, Josh Homme, Ozzy Osbourne and many more.

Per Rolling Stone, here’s the letter in its entirety:

Dear Congress:

We, the undersigned artists, respectfully submit this letter in support of NIVA’s request for federal assistance for independent music venues and promoters across the United States.

We will know America is “back” when our music venues are filled with fans enjoying concerts safely. The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric. In fact, 53% of Americans – that’s 172 million of us – attended a concert last year.

We urge you to remember we are the nation that gave the world jazz, country, rock & roll, bluegrass, hip hop, metal, blues, and R&B. Entertainment is America’s largest economic export, with songs written and produced by American artists sung in every place on the globe. All of these genres of music, and the artists behind them, were able to thrive because they had neighborhood independent venues to play in and hone their craft, build an audience, and grow into the entertainers that bring joy to millions.

Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us have played on. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 9​0% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.

We are asking you to support NIVA’s request for assistance so these beloved venues can reopen when it’s safe and welcome us and our fans back in. The collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating.

Independent venues are asking for an investment to secure their future, not a handout. One Chicago report found that every dollar small venues generate in ticket sales results in $12 of economic activity. If these independent venues close forever, cities and towns across America will not only lose their cultural and entertainment hearts, but they will lose the engine that would otherwise be a driver of economic renewal for all the businesses that surround them.

With respect and solidarity, we, as artists and as community members ourselves, urge you to pass federal legislation that will help #SaveOurStages.

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