Business & Lobbying

Artists join call to Congress to help club and concert venues during pandemic

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Several hundred musicians and performers — including Billy Joel, Whoopi Goldberg and Billie Eilish — have signed on to a letter calling for Congress to help club and concert venues struggling during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which is made up of club and concert venue owners, spearheaded the Thursday letter to request federal assistance for independent music venues. 

“We urge you to remember we are the nation that gave the world jazz, country, rock & roll, bluegrass, hip hop, metal, blues, and R&B. Entertainment is America’s largest economic export, with songs written and produced by American artists sung in every place on the globe,” the letter reads.

NIVA has pushed Congress to provide venues with tax relief, unemployment insurance, mortgage and rent forbearance, a business recovery fund and existing debt deferral.

The group also wanted Congress to modify the coronavirus relief Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to accommodate businesses that are completely closed.

Musician signatories for the letter include Cher, Jimmy Buffett, John Mayer, Carole King, Ozzy Osbourne, John Mellencamp, Chris Stapleton, Cyndi Lauper, Kacey Musgraves, Jimmy Buffett, David Grohl and Willie Nelson.

Other comedians and celebrities on the letter include Billy Porter, Colin Farrell, Natalie Portman, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman and Sarah Silverman. 

Venues represented by NIVA include First Avenue in Minneapolis, Headliners Music Hall in Louisville, Ky., the Bowery Ballroom and City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage in New York, and the 9:30 Club and The Anthem in Washington, D.C.

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