Following in the footsteps of those fighting for the survival of the music industry in the UK: American musicians are calling on their government to provide similar emergency funding to music venues across the United States.
Calling for grants in a manner similar to the UK Cultural Recovery Fund – with England finally providing a massive amount of funding to the arts and culture sectors, officially saving 251 English grassroots venues from permanent closure as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to implement their own financial allocations this coming week; American musicians are finding themselves in one of the worst financial crisis to date, especially with the country’s exceptionally poor handling of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, like many in the Northern Hemisphere.
In a shocking estimate, without assistance from the government – 90% of venues will have to close down permanently if there is no emergency financial aid granted to the American arts and music industry.
The American government seem to have very little concern regarding the cultural sectors, which is unfortunately not surprising. At the beginning of October, the US House of Representatives, spearheaded by Democrats passed the $2.2 trillion “Heroes Act” – despite the arrogance in the name, the stimulus package would have provided $10 billion worth of provisions which would provide funding and financial relief to independent live music and entertainment venues across the suffering country.
However, without the vote of the Republican Senate, the package is unlikely to be considered just yet – especially as the American presidential election looms in the not so distant future, a foreboding dark cloud in which the rest of the world waits with bated breath; President Donald Trump denied the initial idea surrounding a stimulus package for independent venues, however turned the tables – but instead allocated the funds to hard hit businesses considered a “priority”.
Overall, with donations and purchases from the general public, funding and awareness raised by well-known musicians and pressure campaigns such as the Save Our Stages Act – sponsored by Senators John Cornyn and Amy Klobuchar – have assisted American musicians more so than their own government, much like in many other countries.
The National Independent Venue Association is backing the campaign, with spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer stating that despite “sounding the alarm since April”, the lack of support has reached a crucial point leaving the industry in dire straits if left financially unassisted.
This is real. We need help. We urge Congress and the White House to continue negotiations and reach a deal quickly or there will be a mass collapse of this industry.
Feature Image: Oscar Keys via Unsplash