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  • Writer's pictureEmily Marshman

#SAVEOURSTAGES: the national independent venue association needs our help!

As incredible as our independent music venues are - and as much as we love them and as difficult as it is to imagine our lives without them - that might be our reality if we don't protect them financially. Independent venues were the first to close when the world went dark, and they'll be the last to come back - it's inevitable. “It’s just brutal right now," said Dayna Frank, NIVA board member and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis, "and the future is predictable to no one. We can’t envision a world without these music venues, so we’ve created NIVA to fight for their ability to survive this shutdown, which we hear could go into 2021. Our first order of business is to push to secure federal funding to preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.”

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is "securing financial support to preserve the national ecosystem of independent venues and promoters." According to the NIVA's website, the impact that independent venues has on the economy and society is unmatched: the value added by arts and culture to the U.S. economy is “five times greater than the value from the agricultural sector” (2017 study by The National Endowment for the Arts); Venues are forecast to lose up to $8.9 billion of revenue if the rest of 2020 were to remain dark ( Pollstar); Arts and culture contributed $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product (2017 Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account).

Via a statement from the association's website, "National Independent Venue Association just formed and already has more than 450 charter members in 43 states, including 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue League, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee, Red River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville...Independent Venue Week and the nation’s top independent music venues and promoters have joined together to announce the formation of National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to fight for the survival of independent venues, their employees, artists, fans and their communities."

If any independent venues have yet to become a part of this - membership is open and free of cost! More information can be found on the 'Members' page of their website.

The NIVA have done all of the hard work for us - the help that they need from us takes less than sixty seconds. Go to this page on their website and fill out the necessary information in order to contact your representatives and let them know you support NIVA - and they need to, too. You can read their official letter to Congress here.

Several of my favorite venues - Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, NY; The Masquerade in Atlanta, GA; The State Theatre in Portland, ME; Anthology in Rochester, NY; and Exit/In in Nashville, TN - are on this list. I have seen incredible artists at all of these venues and would be devastated to lose them. Please take the short amount of time it takes to educate yourself about this organization and what they stand for, to tell your representatives to save these venues, and to share this information, as well!

Emily Marshman is the founder and technically the editor-in-chief of this magazine, but who's counting. She'd like you to know she started this blog to be able to talk unabashedly about the bands she loves, and is happy to report it hasn't gotten old yet. She's a cancer sun, scorpio rising, and libra moon (chew on that) from Upstate New York (no, further upstate than you're thinking) and loves asides more than she'd care to admit. She can be found and bothered on Twitter and Instagram, if you so choose. She'd also like to thank you for reading this piece and supporting Buzzkill, and hopes you love it as much as she does!

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