As the novel Coronavirus rips through the world, the headlines tell horrid stories of the isolated, lonely deaths of thousands and the debilitating side affects of surviving the worst pandemic in the last century. Though the headlines tend to focus on the mortal toll of COVID-19, the economic impact has been in the forefront of many others who have lost their jobs due to restrictions implemented to limit the spread of the virus.
The music industry knows this pain all too well as packing a bunch of passionate people into a small room has become a dangerous practice, leaving light technicians, audio engineers, promoters, guitar techs, local bands, and pretty much anyone who has anything to do with music, hanging.
As bands and their support staff struggle to find new streams of revenue, and music venues (large and small) see every rent payment on their barren properties as possibly their last, a tremor of support started to swell as fans sought to save the venues that they loved so much.
Cacophony – proverbial pots and pans began to bang and rattle as the internet started to scream and shout that we needed to help the music industry float by until they could open again. Buildings were being lit red, hashtags on twitter began to trend, and those who could, donated.
Out of this came the Save Our Stages Fest, a three day virtual festival featuring dozens of artists at venues all across the country as a way to draw attention to the dire situation at hand.
Among these performing artists were the Foo Fighters playing the famous Troubadour in West Hollywood, Rise Against at the Metro in Chicago, The Dave Matthews Band at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, and many more. The Foot Fighters played a roughly 30 minute set that included deep cuts and hits alike. “My Hero”, “Everlong”, “Times Like These”, “These Days”, and “Skin and Bones” spliced with funny stories from the band made the Foo Fighters’ set unforgettable as usual.
“There are lots of smaller venues like [the Troubadour], around the world, that need your help right now,” said singer Dave Grohl in an appeal to viewers. “These memories and experience that we had right here were life-changing and formative experiences that inspired us to play music. So it’s crucial that we do everything we can to make sure that these venues survive in order to be there to inspire the next generation of musicians.”
Miley Cyrus was also featured in the virtual festival who started off with a cover of “Boys Don’t Cry” by The Cure followed by an absolute rockin’ rendition of “Zombie” by The Cranberries.
“Without venues like the Whiskey we may not have ever heard of artists like Jimmy Hendrix, The Doors, Guns N’ Roses, and thousands of other bands,” Cyrus said in some parting words. “Let’s do whatever we can to keep this historic landmark alive. Thank you SOS Fest and Youtube for brining this cause to the forefront.”
NIVA’s letter to Congress, penned back in June, urged immediate relief and was signed by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as Ozzy Osbourne, Robert Plant, David Crosby, Alice Cooper, David Letterman, Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Buffett, Billie Joel, Billie Eilish, just to name a few.
“Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us have played on. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.”
To date Congress has yet a second wave of financial support for struggling Americans, leaving many to fend on their own.
You can donate directly to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund here.