As music venues continue to stay closed during the pandemic, this new NIVA organization is fighting for federal assistance for the places struggling to stay open.
“The National Independent Venue Association wasn’t even in existence in the beginning of April. We formed as a result of the pandemic,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer, director of communications for NIVA.
“There was enough opportunity going around in this pandemic for people to look for help. and we stepped out and thought, because we knew there was help from musicians, we knew there was help for bars, but what about music venues? You know, what about the artists itself? Like the art, you know. The portrayal of the art. We’re kind of the canvas for the music scene here in Amarillo,” said Gordon McGraw, owner and bartender at Leftwoods Pub in Amarillo.
The fund is still pending, and the organization is waiting for the bill to pass so venues across the country can benefit.
“The Save Our Stage Act provides for a 10-billion-dollar grant fund. And that would allow independent music venues and promoters to be able to get some type of funding based on their revenue loss from 2019 to 2020,” said Schaefer.
“We just hope that we can move forward and help provide, not just opportunity for our artists, and for our employees, but for the scene itself. We just want to save the stage,” said McGraw.
The organization has no idea if and when the bipartisan bill will pass.
“To be at a live event, to not just witness the music, but feel the music and perhaps even meet the musician, it changes everything. And here at Leftwoods we really embody that,” said McGraw.
The new organization represents small and medium-sized music venues located in every state hoping to provide them with financial assistance.
“We’re part of the tourism of all of our communities across the country. And so elected officials understand that they want a vibrant scene when the world is safe again and they don’t want boarded up buildings to be speckled across their towns. And we are a key-way to help the economic renewal,” said Schaefer.
“We feel there’s an opportunity. The people are hungry for the expression of the art. And we want to deliver that,” said McGraw.
The pub expects to be open by October with the Smoke Brothers Food truck and are working with local bands to open for opening night.
If you’d like to support Leftwoods, check out their GoFundMe page.
“If anybody wants to have their voice known with their elected officials, all they have to do is go to SaveOurStages.com and within 30 seconds, they can have their voice heard,” said Schaefer.