Federal funding to help independent venues hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic has been included in a $900 billion bipartisan aid package following days of negotiations between leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress.
While the specifics of the bill have not yet been announced, the aid package does include “$15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions,” according to an email from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), as well as a $300 per week unemployment insurance enhancement for the millions of Americans out of work during the pandemic, including nearly 100,000 live music professionals.
“We’re thrilled that Congress has heard the call of shuttered independent venues across the country and provided us a crucial lifeline by including the Save Our Stages Act in the COVID-19 Relief Bill,” says Dayna Frank, owner and chief executive of First Avenue Productions and board president of the National Independent Venue Association. “We’re also incredibly grateful that this bill provides Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which will help the millions of people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own during this economic crisis. We urge swift passage of this legislation, which will assist those in the greatest need and ensure the music lives on for generations to come.”
The legislative text for the bill is expected to he released late Sunday night or early Monday, followed by a vote in both the House and the Senate on Monday.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.