More than 600 artists, including Billie Eilish, Lady Gaga and Dave Grohl, have urged Congress to help save small music venues that may be forced to close down due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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," they said in a letter sent to lawmakers last Thursday.
The letter adds, "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."
The letter seeks lawmakers' support for the National Independent Venue Association's request for federal financial assistance "so these beloved venues can reopen when it's safe."
The artists expressed concern that the collapse of this crucial element in the music industry's ecosystem would be devastating.
"If these independent venues close forever, cities and towns across America will not only lose their cultural and entertainment hearts, but they will lose the engine that would otherwise be a driver of economic renewal for all the businesses that surround them," according to the musicians and comedians who have signed the letter.
The letter was also signed by Willie Nelson, Mavis Staples, Jimmy Buffett, Miranda Lambert, Coldplay, Neil Young, Billy Joel, Wyclef Jean and many more.
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