Small music venues ask Congress for special consideration in coronavirus aid

(Image credit: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

In an open letter to Congress sent Wednesday, National Independent Venue Association Board President Dayna Frank requested that independent venues have special consideration in acquiring Paycheck Protection Program loans to cover expenses during the coronavirus pandemic, reports Billboard.

More than 800 U.S. venues are members of the association, including the historic Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff, Arizona, and comedy club The Stand NYC.

The letter asks for the PPP to include industry-specific provisions, like increasing its loan cap to cover multiple venue locations and allowing tax relief for refunded tickets. "Our businesses 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," the letter reads.

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Frank, who owns a music venue in Minneapolis, says the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in ticket refunds for more than 100,000 concerts. She argued the importance of small venue stages not only in local communities but also in the music industry as a whole. "The world could be without the next Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, Chance the Rapper, or Bruce Springsteen if we cease to exist," Frank wrote.

Members of the music industry have also turned to other measures to get by. Rather than waiting for federal relief funding, artists like Moksha Sommer have sought aid from nonprofits like MusiCares, which launched March 17 and has already raised more than $10 million, Billboard reports. Sommer is one of 9,000 who received a one-time aid check of $1,000. Sommer said the funding will help her pay bills and plan for the future, but Frank told congressional leaders the industry at large is in dire need of a larger "lifeline." Read more at Billboard.

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