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Regional live events promoters and venues are joining a national call for Congress to find ways to support the industry as it suffers from a loss of revenue due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home orders have forced cancellations of all in-person events since mid-March.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose members, employees, artists and local communities are facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in urgent need of targeted legislative and regulatory assistance. Today NIVA sent a letter to Washington leadership proposing solutions to address the unique and dire situation facing the industry. Jade Presents, The Fargo Theatre, Fargo Brewing Company and Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo, N.D. and Bluestem Amphitheater in Moorhead, Minn., are strongly supporting NIVA’s ongoing efforts.

“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”

The letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer can be viewed here.

NIVA is comprised of more than 800 of the most influential independent music venues and promoters across 48 states, including Jade Presents, The Fargo Theatre, Fargo Brewing Company and Sanctuary Events Center in Fargo, N.D., Bluestem Amphitheater in Moorhead, Minn. and Washington, D.C. Independent venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen.

Due to unique circumstances such as the indefinite closure of our industry and zero revenue for the foreseeable future, NIVA has requested specific funding programs to assist while we are completely shut down as the result of government mandates. The goal is to enable independent venues to survive the shutdowns, reopen in the future, and once again contribute to the economic revival of our communities.

It is estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishments. While we are small businesses, the estimated direct annual economic impact we bring to local communities is nearly $10 billion.

It will likely take months for venues to resume to their full performance schedules, but once they are permitted to reopen, capacity reductions may be required for safety. NIVA is also seeking national guidelines for large gatherings to occur in a safe manner.