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The US live music scene is still suffering from the impact of COVID

“I don’t think the government gives a shit about any workers in the US right now”

  • Becky Buckle
  • 28 February 2022
The US live music scene is still suffering from the impact of COVID

In an investigation via NME, independent venues and the US live scene are still in need of support from the government at this stage of the pandemic.

The rate of no-show ticketholders reached 50% in the US last month with the National Independent Venue Foundation having to relaunch its Emergency Relief Fund.

Squirrel Flower - whose real name is Ella Williams - was due to tour independent venues in the US in January but due to the surge of Omicron cases, she had to push back her tour by two weeks.

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“I didn’t postpone the shows because of local guidance or venue guidance,” Williams told NME. “I just decided to myself.”

Due to this, she decided to conduct her own research on COVID rates and venue safety whilst touring.

“I don’t think the government gives a shit about any workers in the US right now,” Williams said. “When you look at [president] Joe Biden he’s not giving [money] to anyone except for already wealthy people and bailing out banks and large businesses.”

NIVA was formed in 2020 after seeing independent venues close in the US therefore they were able to obtain $16 billion in federal relief funding via the Save Our Stages Act.

“Working-class and emerging artists have had the toughest time over the last couple of years without touring revenue,” said CEO of First Avenue Productions and president of NIVA Dayna Frank.

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“The grants were a god-send,” Frank said. “I don’t want to swear, but it feels like a fucking miracle. I can’t overstate what the impact has been and will be for decades to come from this grant program. Without it, you wouldn’t have independent venues in America.”

NIVA has recently distributed 200,000 KN95 masks to venues across the US and is also working with venues, promoters, and bands to encourage vaccination checks and cleaning procedures.

“There’s about $2billion left [in funding] and NIVA is advocating for more time [to use those funds],” Frank explains. “Because of the shutdowns, there were fewer concerts and fewer events to utilize the money. At the same time, venues in urban areas that were shut down completely, have use for more funds.”

[Via: NME]

Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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