Natalie Colarossi


A number of Bushwick music venues have joined forces with over 150 independent venues in New York City to advocate for financial support to survive during the pandemic. 

The group, called the New York Independent Venue Association, is working in conjunction with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to put the pressure on Congress to pass the “Save Our Stages” and “Restart” bills. 

Both bills were introduced in the Senate last month as a means to provide necessary financial support to independent venues that were forced to close down because of the coronavirus. 

Among the Bushwick venues fighting for help include Elsewhere, House of Yes, Alphaville, Gold Sounds, Purgatory, Starr Bar, the Sultan Room, and Trans-Peco. At least 60 of the participating venues from New York are located in Brooklyn, according to a list published online. 

“These entertainment hubs are critical to their local economies and tax bases as employers, tourism destinations, and revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and retail,” NIVA said in a statement. 

“Independent venues exist in every state across the country; they were the first to be closed, they will be the last to open. The economic recovery process will extend past just reopening the front doors, requiring solutions unique to the industry.”

NIVA estimates that the average independent venue in New York would require $300,000 to sustain itself if forced to remain closed through 2021. 

Furthermore, they added that “On average, a New York venue already has $150,000 their landlord could claim in arrears and more than 80% of venues have no definitive arrangement with their landlords.”

In addition to venues signing on to be a part of the movement, over 600 musicians, including Neil Young, Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga, Willie Nelson, and Robert Plant, have joined NIVA in signing an open letter urging Congress to support local venues. 

“The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric,” the letter stated. 

“We are asking you to support NIVA’s request for assistance so these beloved venues can reopen when it’s safe and welcome us and our fans back in. The collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating.” 

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