Everyone who has desperately missed seeing live music at the Troubadour, Hotel Cafe, Teragram Ballroom, or the Whiskey a Go Go, will finally get a chance to see performances at their favorite spots this weekend–virtually, at least. For three days, October 16 through 18, artists will come together for a “festival” of individual, distanced performances streamed live from iconic independent venues across the U.S. The goal is to raise awareness and funds for small clubs pushed to the brink of permanent closure due to COVID-19.
Some estimates have projected that as many as 90 percent of independent American music venues may go out of business due to the pandemic. Groups that advocate for the industry are calling for a government bailout program for the arts—similar to pandemic aid packages targeting airlines and other sectors—but any hope of federal intervention now appears off the able at least until after the election.
If small stages disappear, not only will cities become more boring places to live, it’s also likely to have a ripple effect throughout the entertainment industry. Even in 2020, not every new artist becomes a star by going viral on TikTok; many musicians, comedians, and other live performers build their fan bases by connecting with audiences in smaller clubs, and sustain their careers by touring.
Save Our Stages Fest, presented on YouTube, is free to watch, but viewers are encouraged to donate to the Emergency Relief Fund established by the National Independent Venue Association, an organization founded in April to lobby on behalf of at-risk performance spaces. Money raised will be distributed to businesses who have demonstrated they’re in urgent need of cash to stay afloat.
Save Our Stages Fest Performers:
Little Big Town
Portugal. The Man
Live Streaming Venues:
Belly Up Tavern
(Le) Poisson Rouge
The Jefferson Theater
Whiskey A Go-Go
World Cafe Live
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