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NITO’s Statement On The Passage Of The Omnibus COVID-19 Relief Bill

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National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), the non-profit organization comprised of over 100 independent booking agencies and 140 independent management firms are pleased to announce that the Save Our Stages Act passed Congress late last night as part of the FY ’21 Omnibus and COVID relief legislation.

NITO’s unwavering efforts to ensure that the small, independent live touring agents and managers had a united voice in Washington, D.C., resulted in their inclusion in this legislation. Save Our Stages includes $15 billion in dedicated funding for qualified live venues, independent movie theaters, talent representatives, and cultural institutions.

NITO would like to thank the Senate and House cosponsors who attached their names to this incredibly important piece of legislation to be included in the next pandemic relief bill. A special thanks to Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, Rep. Peter Welch, D-VT, and Rep. Roger Williams, R-TX, who introduced the Save Our Stages Act in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, in July and have worked alongside us in our efforts to provide relief to the live music industry.

Additionally, NITO also thanks our colleagues at NIVA, who represent more than 3,000 independent venues and independent promoters nationwide. Without the diligent work and the efforts of all of our members, artists, supporters as well as the many legislators, this legislation would not have passed.

Also at the forefront of NITO’s mission, as included in this relief bill, is the extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and another round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP). These will help many hardworking individuals across the US, in and out of the live music industry, who have lost their jobs and livelihoods as a result of the pandemic. This legislation also provides an additional $300 per week for all workers receiving unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021, and extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, with expanded coverage to the self-employed, gig workers and others in non-traditional unemployment and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. PUA provides unemployment benefits to gig workers and self-employed Americans and PEUC provides 13 weeks of additional unemployment benefits to qualified individuals.

With the expertise, patience and direction of Greenberg Traurig‘s team of Diane Blagman, Jonathan Becker and Laurie McKay, NITO’s message was not only carried to Washington, D.C., but heard.

“NITO, the National Independent Talent Organization, is proud to be part of a coalition of independent venues, agencies and managers whose unrelenting and courageous efforts have resulted in a bill that will provide a life line through these terrible times, to the resumption of music and cultural activities so essential to the well being and vibrancy of local communities.

We are especially grateful to all of those at NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association, for their efforts on behalf of the independent music community. Without this diligent work, without the efforts of all of our supporters, this legislation might not have come to pass.

To those in Congress who heard our voices and responded with their support, especially Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and their collective staff, we are grateful for your understanding and perseverance. 

With the distribution of the vaccines, and some reassurance of the safety of social gatherings, all of us at NITO look forward to the return of our successful businesses that have been shuttered these past 9 months. 

There is much more work to be done. Anything and everything that will help the artists, and all of those who work in the production of live music events.”

-Frank Riley, NITO President / High Road Touring

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