05.22.20

Gardner, Bennet Urge Support for Colorado Live Music Venues

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), along with 41 of their Senate colleagues, wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urging targeted legislative action to support live music venues in Congress’ next phase of response to COVID-19.

“Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue,” wrote Senators Gardner and Bennet.

“These venues support the economies of communities across the country, are a crucial component of the music industry’s ecosystem, and serve as incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world. We can provide a vital lifeline for these iconic venues that are so central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help,”they wrote.

Gardner and Bennet’s push for assistance is supported by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which has more than 30 members in Colorado: 10 Mile Music Hall (Frisco), Aggie Theater (Fort Collins), Animas City Theatre (Durango), Antero Hall @ Eck's Saloon (Lakewood), Belly Up Aspen (Aspen), Boulder Theatre (Boulder), Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom (Denver), Dairy Arts Center (Boulder), Fox Theatre (Boulder), Gerald Ford Amphitheater (Vail), Herb’s Jazz & Blues (Denver), Hi-Dive (Denver), Knew Conscious (Denver), Levitt Pavilion (Denver), Middleman (Denver), Mishawaka Amphitheatre (Bellvue), Moxi Theater (Greeley), Ophelia's Electric Soap Box (Denver), Roxy Broadway (Denver), Seventh Circle Music Collective (Denver), Sheridan Opera House (Telluride), Soiled Dove Underground (Denver), Soul Rebel Festival (Boulder), Sunshine Studios Live (Colorado Springs), Tennyson's Tap (Denver), The Armory (Fort Collins), The Black Box (Denver), The Black Sheep (Colorado Springs), The Caribou Room (Nederland), The Monkey Barrel (Denver), The Oriental Theater (Denver), The Walnut Room (Denver), Vilar Performing Arts Center (Avon) Washington’s (Fort Collins), Wild Horse Saloon (Durango), Z2 Entertainment (Boulder).

The full text of the letter is available here and below: 

Dear Leader McConnell and Leader Schumer:

We write to bring your attention to challenges facing the live entertainment industry and to ask for targeted legislative action as Congress works on additional economic relief legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live event venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and they are likely to be among the last to reopen. Concerts and live events may not be possible until a vaccine is readily available to the public, which could be many months away, if not longer. Until that time, live event venues will remain shuttered, leaving employees without jobs and businesses without revenue. The continued closures will also impact the numerous contractors, suppliers, and business partners that support the live entertainment industry in our states. 

Each year, thousands of independent venues host millions of events, staffed by hundreds of thousands of employees, and attended by hundreds of millions of concertgoers across all walks of life. These entertainment hubs are important economic multipliers for our local economies, generating millions in tax revenue and providing jobs in our communities. The business generated by this industry also supports countless neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail.

Unfortunately, even once venues are permitted to reopen, it will take months for the industry to return to usual schedules. Tour artists have an intricate and complicated process of planning, scheduling, and tour routing, making a quick restart near impossible. While necessary to prevent the spread of COVID 19, new capacity limitations and other restrictions could inhibit the live entertainment industry’s ability to recover fully for some time. We are concerned that even if these entertainment venues are able to withstand the shutdowns, they will not be economically viable operating at 25 or 50 percent occupancy.

Congress has taken swift action to support the economy, but the programs we have enacted provide little relief to independent venues. Short-term disruption assistance has provided a lifeline for millions of Americans, but businesses that face prolonged closure also need help. Without assistance targeted to their unique situation, venues, artists, and our local communities face an unprecedented crisis. We support providing government funding, tax relief measures, and assistance to manage mortgage, rent, and other debt burdens for mom and pop venues across the country.

These venues support the economies of communities across the country, are a crucial component of the music industry’s ecosystem, and serve as incubators and launch pads for the most popular talent in the world. We can provide a vital lifeline for these iconic venues that are so central to the social, cultural, and economic fabric of so many of our communities. This industry is not going to make it without our help.

Thank you for your consideration of this request, and we look forward to working with you to provide necessary relief to live venue operators across the country.

###

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.