(FOX 9) - The COVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses across the sector. Among them, music venues have been unable to hold shows for months and it’s unclear when acts will be able to perform in the future.
The state emergency order and continuing social distancing guidelines have forced Minnesota venues to close their doors and many bands have cancelled shows until 2021.
First Avenue, perhaps the best known of all of our small venues, hasn’t held a concert since the middle of March and it's the same with the Fine Line Music Café. The shutdown has left businesses in a tough spot where bills are still due but nobody is coming through the door. To provide help to venues, Senator Amy Klobuchar is introducing a bill in the Senate called the "Save Our Stages” Act.
It would distribute grants through the Small Business Administration to help them cover up to 45 percent of their operational costs. Without the help, the senator says we’re in danger of losing these stages.
"First Avenue has and a number of others are really concerned that they are not going to be able to make it," said Sen. Klobuchar. "And we’re seeing that. This involves places like the Duluth Entertainment Center, and the Fargo Theater, and the Moorhead Amphitheater, and Rochester and Mankato… There are just so many places where artists have historically performed and fans love to go see them. All that’s going to be gone and only the big guys are going to be left unless we make sure we’re evening the playing field.”
This bill would also potentially help venues such as The State, Pantages, and Orpheum theaters in Minneapolis. But, this bill will help clubs far outside of Minnesota as well. Senator Klobuchar is working with Republican Senator John Cornyn in Texas, which is home to the vibrant music scene in Austin.
Their goal is to get this into the Senate stimulus bill that is being negotiated right now. There’s a lot of moving parts in those discussions, but the senator said if it’s not in this stimulus bill, she and Senator Cornyn will try and pass it as a separate bill this fall.