On Saturday, 13 March, independent music venues across the United States and on social media will use their shop frontage and marquees to display messages marking a year without shows owing to Covid-19 restrictions.
The marquee campaign, which is backed by the National Independent Venues Association (NIVA), is part of the successful drive to include the Save Our Stages Act in the US government's Covid Relief Bill. Some 2.1 million emails were sent to elected officials to support the bill, which administers financial relief to venues closed during the pandemic.
In October 2020, NIVA launched an emergency relief fund to raise money for the most at-risk venues, and the organisation will now work alongside the Small Business Administration in distributing the funds from congress.
In the months to come, however, venues are still at considerable risk of folding, and the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund remains open for donations until government grants are issued.
Venues participating in the One Year Dark marquee campaign include the iconic Fox Theater Oakland [pictured top], Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Great American Music Hall.
Another Planet Entertainment, which owns the San Francisco venues listed above, says that independent music venues were three to four times more likely to close than other small businesses during the pandemic, with the first to close, last to reopen situation leaving many ”an existential crisis”.
In the US, the live events and entertainment industry sector is worth over $877 billion, with each $1 of ticket spend creating $12 of economic activity in the local economy.
You can read more about and donate to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund here.