Now that the Small Business Administration has finally opened applications for the much-anticipated Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, the leadership of National Independent Talent Organization, one of the trade associations who worked tirelessly to make the SVOG a reality issued statements on the launch.
“Well, that was harrowing. From April 8 to April 26, we were all swinging from a rope. Daily, a thread would break and finally, down to the very end… we made it. We got through. We saw the endpoint of all we have worked toward this past year. Once again, the camaraderie and support we have offered each other was manifest throughout the day, either on emails or by text, or just shouting out the window. Now, we all have to wait for the process to make its way through the SBA system and continue to hope for the best. I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, your work, your diligence – and for all of the memes that made us giggle throughout the day,” said High Road Touring / NITO Executive Board member Frank Riley.
“The most important part of this process is to get the applications submitted in a fair and equitable way. I know that the SBA worked very hard towards that end,” added Partisan Arts’ and NITO Executive Board member Hank Sachs.
“Most of our committee knew that the site was going to crash so sadly, I was not surprised on April 8. What I didn’t expect was 18 more days before the portal would reopen. Each day created more intensity for our members and other stakeholders. However, the pressure on the SBA employees assigned with this task is filled with intensity. As dire as our position has been, I personally do not envy the work taken on by the SBA staff. The SBA not only had to take a crash course on the independent music business during a global pandemic (with all of its nuances and intricacies), but they were also simultaneously badgered by hundreds of congressional leaders. Yes, they made some missteps, but in the end, the SBA and its SVOG committee took the time to fix the issues and the process Monday accomplished the job at hand… but it’s not over. We still need the approval process to be a swift one, as people are neck deep, water rising, hands in the air, reaching for SBA life preservers.” stated Nadia Prescher, Madison House / NITO Executive Board
“After nearly 1 year of lobbying for much needed relief to the live concert industry, it felt like we could finally take a breath after hitting “submit” on the SVOG application. We hope to see venues and small businesses back up and running, fully staffed as we move into this next phase. It is our hope that artists will have the opportunity to safely return to the stage and reunite with their fans once again,” said Stormy Shepherd, Leave Home Booking / NITO Executive Board.
“We are grateful to the SBA for their monumental efforts to implement the filing process for the SVOG program this week. This much needed support that counters the crushing effects of COVID on the live entertainment industry will send a lifeline to small businesses across the country. We look forward to gathering safely again and experiencing the joys of live music!” noted Partisan Arts’ and NITO Executive Board member Tom Chauncey.
“It’s been a long time coming for all of us in the live entertainment business, especially for us independents – many of whom have been financially gasping for air. We at NITO have been waiting patiently, with the knowledge that the SBA has been under an inordinate amount of pressure from all sides and that there were some intrinsic programming flaws. We feel that the extra time taken to rectify those issues made for a much smoother and efficient application experience. Now our hope is that it will be rewarding to us as well!” concluded Entourage Talent’s Wayne Fort.