Senator Chuck Schumer announced he is co-sponsoring the Save Our Stages Act, the bipartisan relief bill introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Cornyn, which is supported by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). If passed, it would provide six months of financial support to help “keep venues afloat, pay employees, and preserve a critical economic sector for communities across America.”
On Tuesday, local venues, NIVA representatives and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy appeared with Schumer at a press conference in New York to address how vital independent venues are to the fabric of communities and the necessity to fund them during the COVID-19 crisis.
“These venues are places that occupy parts of cities that nobody wants to be in when they start,” Murphy said. “They fill in the gaps and communities spring up around them. They take those warehouses that nobody wanted to be in and they build places that foster the most diverse music scene in the world.”
In a recent interview op-ed with Rolling Stone, Klobuchar stressed the importance of focusing assistance towards the independent, smaller venues, whose margins are thin. The impact of the pandemic on these venues is acute, many venues were among the first businesses forced to close and they’ve continued to be shuttered for months.
Murphy expounded on Klobuchar’s point on Tuesday. “You can’t knock out all the mom and pops and think that more mom and pops will spring up. If we knock them out, it’s just chains,” he added. “Write your senators and ask them to support this bill — it’s critical, or this whole industry is going to go away without it.”
Schumer emphasized the role independent venues play in cultural life and their strong impact on the economy. “That’s why it’s so important to provide dedicated federal assistance to independent venues so when it is safe, we can gather again for music, comedy, theater and other live performances in venues that have been around for generations,” he said, noting that in addition to co-sponsoring the Save Our Stages Act, that he would also “fight to include federal funding for independent venues in any coronavirus relief legislation.”