Like many businesses affected by lockdowns and social distancing guidelines, the nightlife industry has been hit significantly harder since venues, artists, and festival production companies rely on large crowds that typically gather indoors. While many venues such as restaurants have been able to reopen under certain conditions, clubs and concert halls have continued to remain closed. With stimulus checks frozen and federal relief acts such as Save Our Stages Act on hold, the nightlife industry faces further financial demise that may lead to permanent closures.
The Save Our Stages Act has been supported by both political parties in order to provide $10 billion in grants to local music venues to cover rent, utilities, and expenses incurred during closures. This act is now currently stalled, making the light at the end of the tunnel even darker. While some venues have taken advantage of live streaming events as artists take the stage to perform in front of an empty room, it is not enough to make ends meet. Others, such as Academy L.A., have expanded to create an outdoor experience for guests.
However, many venues are not in the financial position to expand or simply do not have the space. In an interview with L.A. Times, several local Los Angeles venues have expressed deep concerns…going as far as stating that owners will go through the end of the year before shutting down doors permanently. Elizabeth Fischbach, owner of Echo Park bar 1642, told the L.A. Times, “I don’t know if we are going to make it. I’m living off borrowed money, and some musicians have helped out generously. But it’s all running out. I haven’t paid my mortgage in six months. How much am I willing to go into debt for this, with nothing to show?”
This statement holds true for all in this industry. In an effort to combat the financial distress, artists have banded together to host live streams including the recent Save Our Stages Fest that featured artists such as Marshmello, Dillon Francis, and Major Lazer from within the ballroom of the iconic Troubadour. Live Nation and AEG, both based out of Los Angeles, have pushed for tax breaks and benefits for nightlife venues through the #SaveLiveEventsNow campaign.
For now, we can only do our best to support the community wherever we can and hope that the situation turns around quickly. As fans, this support can be found by watching artists via live streams, donating to music fundraisers whenever possible, purchasing merchandise from venues and artists, buying tickets to charity live stream events, attending socially-distanced drive-in events, signing petitions to garner government support, and pushing for awareness via social media in order to obtain federal aid. This industry has provided some of our best times and moments, including continuing to bring music to our living rooms during lockdowns. Now is our time to support them and the future good times to come!
Head here to take action to save our stages and our nightlife by signing a petition to urge Congress to provide relief for local venues across the country.