Understanding Save Our Stages Act and COVID-19 Relief Bill for Promoters (The EventBuzz Podcast)

Understanding Save Our Stages Act and COVID-19 Relief Bill for Promoters (The EventBuzz Podcast)

#SAVEOURSTAGES-purplepass-podcastPodcast speakers: Savannah McIntosh (Purplepass Marketing Director) with Audrey Schaefer (NIVA and IMP Communications Director). Jump to links and video notes below. 

The EventBuzz podcast:

#SAVEOURSTAGES

 

 

 

Podcast Transcript: Purplepass + NIVA

 

Savannah (Purplepass): 

Okay, guys, I know I just launched an episode last week but I want to officially say welcome back. I hope everyone is feeling refreshed and ready for the new year. I know we're all expecting a lot from 2021 with COVID-19 vaccines slowly rolling out, believe me when I say promoters everywhere are counting down the days till events make their comeback.

The good news, within a few weeks into the new year 2021, it's already delivering thanks to the National Independent Venue Association, a group founded in response to the pandemic who are responsible for the recent passing of the Save Our Stages Act. We are so excited!

In today's episode, we have the privilege to speak with Audrey Schaefer, the National Independent Venue Association head of communications with IMP, the independent concert promotion and production company in Washington, D.C.

Audrey and her team formed in reaction to COVID damaging effects on the event space. They wanted to hopefully, lobby Congress for federal funding to save live music venues from facing permanent closures. Today, we will talk more about what the Save Our Stages Act will mean for event promoters and venues moving forward now that it has officially passed.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us. Let's just start with having you introduce yourself as well as the National Independent Venue Association, and how the group came together in response to the pandemic.

 

Audrey (NIVA): 

I'm Audrey Schaefer and Director of Communications for NIVA, the National Independent Venue Association. And in my real life, I'm Communications Director for IMP which is a company that owns the 930 Club, The Anthem, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC. We're an small independent promoter.

We all came together through NIVA, during the first couple weeks of the pandemic, because we realized that there's absolutely no way that independent venues can survive this without federal assistance with no revenue, and really high overhead, that's a recipe for disaster. So we came together in April now we have 3,000 members, and we're in all 50 states and Washington, DC. And through 10 hard months of exhaustion and battle, we ended up doing what most people thought was unthinkable. And we got a bill passed and turned into law, the Save Our Stages Act, which will provide emergency relief for independent venues and promoters across the country.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, it's so amazing. So for the act, who basically will benefit from it, I know it passed, it's $15 billion going out, correct?

 

Audrey:

Yes, it's a it's a $15 billion grant program. And it will enable independent promoters and venues and festivals, to apply for emergency relief and also added into the bill were independent movie theaters and theatrical theaters as well. And you have to be independent, meaning not publicly traded, and you can have you, can't be in more than 10 states and you cannot be International.

 

Savannah:

Okay, that's what I was gonna ask. So those that host and promote events at venues, they rent rather than owning they, they qualify. 

 

Audrey:

They do. They may qualify.

 

Savannah:

Okay

 

Audrey:

What I would recommend is they go to the Save Our Stages, I'm sorry, is that they go to the NIVA website and look for the information about the Save Our Stages Act and the law and also for a listing of what type of entities qualify, and which don't.

And then also to plug into the Small Business Administration, because that's who's going to be administering the program. We're in the early days of that. So the SBA has not yet put out the the rules and the application yet. They're working on that right now.

 

Savannah:

Okay. Gotcha. And so I'm assuming because it's a grant, it doesn't need to be paid back. Correct?

 

Audrey:

Correct.

 

Savannah:

Okay. I just want to make sure that was out there. That can get confusing. On the bill, when I was reading through it, it states that it applies for performing artists, entertainers, essentially, we do have some promoters that are like sport related venues and events. Are they excluded? Because it's really for like the arts?

 

Audrey:

I believe so. Okay. But I would also go look at the the listings that are on the description that's on the NIVA site.

 

Savannah:

Okay, yes. And I will link all that below attached to this so people will have all the resources out there. The other question when I was looking through it again, I might, you might not know. For example, if it was a large performing arts center that is on campus at a large university, for like, what are venues that are part of larger organizations, there's a number of employees or like gross revenue for federal funding still apply? I know it was mentioned.

 

Audrey:

Really the best thing to do is to read through the information. It would it would save a lot of time for you. But the there are stipulations about the amount of government funding you get that precludes or include you. Also, it's based on rep gross revenue loss between 2019 and 2020 and that is not that is gross revenue loss, meaning it if it's not about donations, if you lost donations, that's not part of it.

 

Savannah:

Okay

 

Audrey:: 

So I don't know how that plays into the kind of entities that you're talking about.

 

Savannah: 

Okay. So when I was on line, like looking through, I'll have to have you send me the best place to look, I think, because I was reading through one section and it it listed everything I'm kind of asking but just not in great detail. So I'll have to get all the links from you guys so that I can give everyone because I know these are going to be common questions that are going to come up with our promoters, I think.

 

Audrey:

Well, one thing they can do is it You do not have to be a member of NIVA to apply or receive a grant. But if you qualify as a Niva member, you will get our it costs nothing. It's free right now for people to become members, if you qualify. The members do get as much up to date information as we can possibly get from Small Business Administration and then forwarded on to them.

 

Savannah:

Okay, good tip. I will

 

Audrey:

Yeah, my focus is really to make sure that people know that this is available, and they register with SBA so they can be ready when the SBA comes out with the rules in the application form. And the initial grant is, is what's first on the docket.

 

Savannah:

Okay, so for the SBA when, what is like kind of the timeframe looking at?

 

Audrey:
We don't know exactly, yeah. This is a brand new program and so there, we know that they're working on creating the, the form and the rules and regs for it. And they, I'm sure that they are working with two purposes in mind, one to make it as accurate as possible. And the other is to do it as expeditiously as possible, because we're all hurting and we've been 10 months without any revenue. So, but we don't have a date. They've not issued one exactly.

 

Savannah: 

Okay and that is totally understandable. The fact that we were even having this at all is, is amazing and I think just what you guys have been doing, it's giving, it's going to give people so much hope, you know, to keep pushing, going forward, because it's hard. Obviously, we see, it's hard for us, but then we see on our end like the promoters that we are so close with all these different organizations and how much it's impacted them.

So I think just like you said right now, and I totally get it like you don't know, we don't really know all the answers right now. But to just give them that hope that "hey, this passed this is coming. You have something to look forward to." I mean, that's what that's the best part about about it. So yeah, honestly, I just wanted to talk to you a little bit. I know your time is valuable and wanted to get this out there so people can know "hey, you can expect this." We will keep them updated. I'll send them to your website, get alerts, and we're gonna try to keep them as updated as possible and follow along with it.

Yeah, but a big thanks to you guys and everything you did, and I'm sure like you said it was 10 months of fighting like I'm sure it was really 10 months of fighting.

 

Audrey:

It really was, I need a facelift.

 

Savannah:

Yeah, so yeah, we're all just here sending a virtual hug your way.

 

Audrey:

Thank you, thank you so much. You're really kind and I appreciate your you're being kind to me.

 

Savannah:

Yeah. Before we go anything else, um anything random word of advice you want to give out to our listeners for promoters, venues out there just, you know looking for something.

 

Audrey:

Yeah, again, look to the NIVA website for as much information as we can possibly provide. Contact your local Small Business Administration office and ask any specific questions because they will be the experts on it all. And take care of yourself. Stay safe!

 

Savannah:

Yeah, you too.


 

Video notes and links

About NIVA: 

National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)

NIVA memberships - Join today! 

 

Save Our Stages (SOS) resources: 

The Save Our Stages Act - eligibility and requirements 

Small Business Administration

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