National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has been formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic's widespread impact on independent venues and promoters across the country. In an effort to lobby for assistance from Washington D.C., the organization has been formed, comprised of hundreds of promoters and venues pledging to support NIVA's initiative.

Venues and promoters locally include Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment (which includes The Canopy Club and Blackbird here in C-U), PYGMALION, and Rose Bowl Tavern.

From the press release:



April 22, 2020 CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, ILLINOIS – The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), whose members, employees, artists and local communities are facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are in urgent need of targeted legislative and regulatory assistance. Today NIVA sent a letter to Washington leadership proposing solutions to address the unique and dire situation facing the industry. Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, PYGMALION, and Rose Bowl Tavern in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois are strongly supporting NIVA’s ongoing efforts.

“Our passionate and fiercely independent operators are not ones to ask for handouts,” said Dayna Frank, NIVA Board President and owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis. “But because of our unprecedented, tenuous position, for the first time in history, there is legitimate fear for our collective existence.”

The letter to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, House of Representatives Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is attached.

NIVA is comprised of more than 800 of the most influential independent music venues and promoters across 48 states, including Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, PYGMALION, and Rose Bowl Tavern in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. Independent venues were among the first to close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen.

Due to unique circumstances such as the indefinite closure of our industry and zero revenue for the foreseeable future, NIVA has requested specific funding programs to assist while we are completely shut down as the result of government mandates. The goal is to enable independent venues to survive the shutdowns, reopen in the future, and once again contribute to the economic revival of our communities.

It is estimated that for every $1 spent on a ticket, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated within communities on restaurants, hotels, taxis, and retail establishment. While we are small businesses, the estimated direct annual economic impact we bring to local communities is nearly $10 billion.

It will likely take months for venues to resume to their full performance schedules, but once they are permitted to reopen, capacity reductions may be required for safety. NIVA is also seeking national guidelines for large gatherings to occur in a safe manner. Uniformity across the country and throughout the industry will ensure artists can resume a tour schedule and fans can come and enjoy shows once again.

Media contact:

[email protected]

FULL DISCLOSURE: PYGMALION is owned and operated by the same parent company as Smile Politely.

Top image from NIVA's website.