Support the RESTART Act and Help Save Our Venues

  • By cvbizz
  • July 22, 2020
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Brett Barest

Grocery stores have toilet paper back in stock, restaurants are open at safe capacity, farmers markets are open and, despite these goofy masks we are all wearing, a lot of life seems almost business as usual in some strange kind of way. That is, at least, right up until I hear about another concert or event that has been canceled due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. In the beginning of all this, people projected that “we might not see live music again until summer” but, here we are with half the summer gone and there is no end in sight.

The point of this is to say that there are serious concerns, both locally and industry wide, that when the pandemic lifts we might not have any places to go see a show in the first place. Music venues across the country – especially independent ones – are inching ever closer to the point of no return. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has gone so far as to predict that up to 90% of indie music venues could close sooner rather than later without some kind of government assistance. Even those that received federal PPP aid to help pay employees have been all on their own for things like rent and utilities, both hard to afford when the stage lights have gone dark for this long.

Visit Save Our Stages to Learn More

With the increase in positive COVID tests and the ongoing debate over whether the pandemic will kill us all or really is not that big of deal (since we lack any sort of middle ground in any debate in 2020) the end seems further and further away with each passing day. That leaves us with but a shred of hope for our music venues in the form of the RESTART Act, a piece of proposed legislation that would extend loans to the small businesses like music venues that have been hit the hardest during the pandemic.

The beauty of the RESTART Act is that it (gasp) has bipartisan support – a rarity for any bill in these polarizing times. It has support from the entertainment community, as over 600 musicians and comics signed a letter to congress encouraging them to pass the act.  Music industry heavy hitters such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group teamed with streaming providers like Spotify, Amazon Music, and YouTube to collectively express their support for the bill. Finally, over 600,000 people (and counting) have visited to lobby their representatives in Congress urging them to support the bill.

We need to act to help preserve our Upstate Music Community

If this passes, will it save everybody? Of course not. Surely the ship has already sailed for more than a few small businesses, but that 90% potential closing rate is a huge figure that would devastate local music scenes across the country. If you are a supporter of the local music scene (and if you are reading this, I suspect you are) you know that the Greenville music community, and so many others like it, cannot weather this storm without a little help.

Check out and spend less than 60 seconds of your life reaching out to your representatives to support the RESTART Act. Supporters are hoping that a vote can come before the August recess leaving us all hoping that help is on the way, sooner rather than later.  

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