‘Save Our Stages’ Act secures $15 billion in federal funding for independent venues

Published: Jan. 1, 2021 at 2:41 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - $15 billion in federal funding is on its way to help struggling independent music and theater venues around the country.

The ‘Save Our Stages’ Act is part of the recently signed $900 billion coronavirus relief package, aimed at helping venues that have mostly remained closed since March.

Tyson Danner, the Executive Director of River Music Experience in Davenport said the RME has tried to innovate through the pandemic, including with their curbside concerts over summer.

“The arts and cultural scene, especially music, can form a building block for the rest of an area,” Danner said, “People were really seeking ways to connect with music and each other during that time. So what we put out there, our audiences came to right away.”

Although this helped keep some music going, it’s not enough for venues around the country without ticket sales.

“We know here in the Quad Cities, arts and culture and non-profits alone create more than 70 million dollars in economic activity. Every dollar RME generates turns back two dollars to state and local governments. So we know music and the arts create economic growth,” Danner said.

The Save Our Stages Act allows these types of businesses to apply for grants from the Small Business Administration to support their employees, rent, utilities and maintenance costs. A venue must have experienced a loss of at least 25 percent of their revenue to qualify. Those that have lost more than 90 percent can apply first.

Larger venues, including the Adler Theater in Downtown Davenport, are also suffering with many employees still furloughed. The theater’s executive director tells TV6 that federal assistance and vaccine distribution is a light at the end of the tunnel and he remains cautiously optimistic shows will return in 2021.

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