Live & Touring

How Biden’s American rescue plan helps #saveourstages

As we pass a year of COVID-induced closures and cancellations, venues and venue staff remain on edge about the future of live music. Here, we look at what the latest relief package out of DC could mean for the music business.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The American Rescue Plan, the latest COVID-19 relief package, includes an amendment that will help #SaveOurStages nationwide.

As we cross the first anniversary of COVID-19 shutting down the touring music industry, many venues and venue staff still see a cloud of uncertainty overhead. The provisions made to help venues back in 2020 to help #SaveOurStages have not proven as beneficial as many hoped. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest may be a law forbidding anyone who applied to the Payroll Protection Plan to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operations Grant.

Now, according to a press release from the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) regarding President Biden’s newly passed American Rescue Plan, change is in the air. NIVA members are grateful that it includes Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s Amendment to the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) provisions and supports its passage in the upcoming COVID Relief Bill.

The release continues:

The previous law forbade eligible entities to apply for both Payroll Protection Plan (PPP2) after Dec. 27, 2020 and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG, f.k.a. Save Our Stages Act). The revised provision enables eligible entities to apply for PPP2 starting now until March 31, 2021, and also seek SVOG when the applications are made available by the Small Business Administration. The SBA has yet to set a date to accept SVOG applications. 

NIVA members, devastated by having no income and enormous overhead for a year, have been anxiously awaiting the SVOG application forms; many venues have gone under while waiting to access this program. “Now that independent venues and promoters can be eligible for both PPP2 and SVOG, we’re hoping Congress will extend the deadline for applying for PPP2, since it’s set to close March 31, or in just 14 business days,” say Adam Hartke, NIVA’s Advocay Cochair and owner of The Cotilian and WAVE in Wichita, Ks.

The PPP2 money can help eligible independent venues and promoters to hold on until SVOG funding starts being distributed. Any amount of PPP2 money taken by a recipient will be reduced from SVOG funds, i.e., if a venue is eligible for $100,000 SVOG and they have taken $25,000 in PPP2 funds, their SVOG cannot exceed $75,000.

Speaking about the American Rescue Plan’s impact on their efforts, Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and CEO of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis, said “This change can save countless venues from bankruptcy, as the immediate PPP2 money will help them hold on until the SVOG funds flow. This entire industry is grateful to President Biden for the relief the Majority Leader Senator Schumer for spearheading this provision and Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar for championing our cause with the #SaveOurStages Act.”

Frank Added, “The quicker the SBA can staff up and roll out this program, the better.  To say our members are frantic and anxious is an understatement. The eviction notices have been coming at an even faster pace as time goes by without this emergency relief.”

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

Share on: