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Texas Outdoor Musical among venues still waiting on government pandemic aid

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 5:52 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Many music venues, theaters and museums have been left in the dark, waiting on government pandemic aid.

Contrary to similar programs, applying for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant has been a slow and, at times frustrating, process for artistic organizations.

The $16.1 billion program provides up to $10 million to qualifying venues, promoters and theater owners who closed due to the pandemic.

“The time that has taken to process this new grant from SBA has not been unreasonable,” said Emma Carrasco, consultant with the Small Business Development Center.

Because the Shuttered Venue Grant is new and funds are being allocated by the federal government, consultants with the Small Business Development Center say the long timeline is not a surprise.

“There is lengthy documentation that is required as well as verifications. It is taking longer, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not working,” said Carrasco.

According to Carrasco, 10 percent of her clients have received funding. However, others like the Texas Outdoor Musical have turned to other methods to continue operations.

“Through partners and then some local businesses that have just stepped up and helped us out, through funding and generous discounts,” said Buster Ratliff, interim associate with the Texas Outdoor Musical.

The theater production lost more than $1 million in budgetary revenue last year. While ticket sales are currently outpacing 2019, the musical is still counting on the funds for more needed repairs.

“We’re not where we want to be, but we are definitely better than we were,” said Ratliff.

Experts ask venue owners to not be discouraged and continue checking their status on the SBA website.

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