The live music industry ground to a halt when the COVID-19 outbreak hit the U.S. in March.
According to the National Independent Venue Association, hundreds of independent music venues are broke and will close for good if they don`t receive federal help.
Texas lawmakers in the Senate and House have introduced legislation to “Save our Stages.”
“We are not going to get back to normal in Texas for sure until we can go hear our favorite music,” said Texas Republican Congressman Roger Williams. He adds Austin’s and America’s music venues may not survive the pandemic.
“They have no revenue coming in and they have expenses like rent and utilities,” said Vermont Democratic Congressman Peter Welch.
Williams and Welch introduced the “Save Our Stages Act,” which would provide $10 billion in grants to independent clubs and stages.
“We’ve got to help them hang on and this program would provide them funding basically so they can pay their bills,” said Welch.
Audrey Fix Shaefer with the National Independent Venue Association says the current federal relief programs don’t help because venues cannot reopen until the virus subsides.
“The intent might be good and it might work for other industries but it will not work for us. Two more months of loans…we will all go out of business,” said Schaefer.
Schaefer says the bill would create an entirely new program where venues can apply for grants based on their financial needs.
“We are at the precipice of disaster. There is no two ways about it. If we don’t get this federal help within a couple of months there will be a massive collapse of this industry,” said Schaefer.
There’s a companion bill in the Senate co-sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn
Illinois reported nearly 1500 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday. The state reporting over 1,000 new cases for 14 days straight now.