WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess) — On Tuesday, the National Independent Venue Association released an updated NIVA Fact Sheet and Policy Ask Document with the organization’s projections on what it will take to save the independent live events industry from economic catastrophe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the earliest days of the shutdown, NIVA members, who consist primarily of entrepreneurs who have invested their own capital into their businesses, have had virtually no revenue while still facing the remorseless grind of fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, and taxes..
According to NIVA, current financial lifelines from the government, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), even with the recent modifications, will not save independent venues, as it does not cover many of the fixed costs that are weighing on independent venue operators.
A poll conducted by NIVA showed that 90% of the organization’s nearly 2,000 members say they will be forced to shutter for good if the shutdown lasts for more than six months in its current form.
To stem the proverbial bleeding, NIVA has thrown its weight behind the RESTART Act (S. 3814) which modifies the PPP program to work for businesses with zero revenue during the pandemic.
The RESTART Act would:
Finance six months of payroll and operating expenses for businesses, and allow flexible use of government sponsored loans without requiring minimums to be dedicated to any one expense category.
The Act would also expand eligibility to small businesses that primarily employ part time employees, and extends loan forgiveness and repayment options for PPE loans.
NIVA also called on Congress to provide a raft of temporary tax credits to help independent venues weather the crisis, including on rent/mortgage taxes, for employee retention, safe workplace incentives, and for ticket refunds.
As well, NIVA asked Congress to continuing additional unemployment insurance for employees of shuttered businesses, including contract workers and artists who otherwise do not have access to relief.
NIVA, which launched in March, has grown to encompass almost 2,000 members in all fifty states, as well as Washington D.C. Its member list includes notable indie venues such as World Cafe Live, Ardmore Music Hall, Ars Nova Workshop, City Winery, Dave Kiss Presents, Green Soul, Johnny Brenda’s, MilkBoy, Ortlieb’s, Philadelphia Folksong Society, Point Entertainment, R5 Productions, Relish, Sellersville Theater, SOUTH, The Barbary, The Fire, The Locks, Union Transfer, Voltage Lounge, Warehouse on Watts, and Warmdaddy’s.
Dayna Frank, NIVA president and CEO of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis said, “The complete and instant shut down of every venue is devastating. Revenues have ceased, but overhead hasn’t. We’re fighting for the future of our industry, our beloved venues and our communities. This is the one time we’re asking for assistance to do that. Without it, we fail. With it, we can once again be the gathering places that bring back our communities. With it, we will stand on our own feet and once again generate economic gains for businesses around us and the tax base of our towns and cities.”