Six hundred artists have signed a petition asking Congress to bail out the country’s independent venues. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, concert venues have been empty since March, with an estimated 90 percent of independent venues in danger of closing if lockdown extends into September.

The plea to Congress comes via the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which notes that 53 percent of Americans attended a concert in 2019 and that concert venues contribute a total of $10 billion to their local economies each year.

The petition reads:

Dear Congress:

We, the undersigned artists, respectfully submit this letter in support of NIVA’s request for federal assistance for independent music venues and promoters across the United States.

We will know America is “back” when our music venues are filled with fans enjoying concerts safely. The live music experience is inextricably tied to our nation’s cultural and economic fabric. In fact, 53% of Americans – that’s 172 million of us – attended a concert last year.

We urge you to remember we are the nation that gave the world jazz, country, rock & roll, bluegrass, hip hop, metal, blues, and R&B. Entertainment is America’s largest economic export, with songs written and produced by American artists sung in every place on the globe. All of these genres of music, and the artists behind them, were able to thrive because they had neighborhood independent venues to play in and hone their craft, build an audience, and grow into the entertainers that bring joy to millions.

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. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 9 0% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again.

We are asking you to support NIVA’s request for assistance so these beloved venues can reopen when it’s safe and welcome us and our fans back in. The collapse of this crucial element in the music industry’s ecosystem would be devastating.

Independent venues are asking for an investment to secure their future, not a handout. One Chicago report found that every dollar small venues generate in ticket sales results in $12 of economic activity. 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.

With respect and solidarity, we, as artists and as community members ourselves, urge you to pass federal legislation that will help #SaveOurStages.

Artists who have already signed the letter to Congress include Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Alice Cooper, Trent Reznor, Jack Black, Robert Plant, Josh Homme,  Billie Eilish, Neil Young, Gary Clark Jr., Brandi Carlile, Patrick Carney, Vampire Weekend, Patti Smith, Jimmy Eat World, Alison Mosshart, Ian MacKaye, Britt Daniel, Beck, Kim Gordon, Parquet Courts, Mickey Hart, Adolescents, The Agonist, Beartooth, Being as an Ocean, Biffy Clyro, Cannibal Corpse, The Almost, Alter Bridge, Black Dahlia Murder, Black Stone Cherry, Blue Oyster Cult, Chelsea Grin, Chris Shiflett, Christopher Owens, The Aquabats, Born of Osiris, Crown the Empire, The Contortionist, Ash Costello, August Burns Red, The Damned, Dance Gavin Dance, Darkest Hour, Entheos, Emmure, Good Riddance, Grayscale, Gwar, Halestorm, Havok, Demon Hunter, Fit for a King, Highly Suspect, Hopesfall, Hot Water Music, I Prevail, The Devil Wears Prada, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Fu Manchu, Gatecreeper, Jesse Malin, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kvelertak, Like Moths to Flames, Mayday Parade, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, The Melvins, Memphis May Fire, Rami Jaffe, Rancid, Mike Patton, Miss May I, Ministry, Misery Signals, Palaye Royale, Pat Smear, Motionless in White, Mr. Bungle, Nate Mendel, New Years Day, Power Trip, Queensryche, Nothing Nowhere, Sevendust, Sick of It All, Silverstein, Silversun Pickups, Shinedown, Steve Vai, Stick to Your Guns, Sunn O))), Switchfoot, Sylar, Terror, Taylor Hawkins, Thurston Moore, Thrice, Theory of a Deadman, Tomahawk, Twiztid, Underoath, Veil of Maya, Volumes, Wayne Kramer, Whitechapel, The Wonder Years, The Word Alive, Zac Brown and Zakk Wylde.

For the full list of signatories, head over to NIVA’s website.

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