DENVER — Thousands of independent music venues across the nation are coming together for a live music event to raise money for an industry in dire need.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the entertainment industry hard.
"If we don’t get help from the federal government or somewhere over the next six months, 90% of independent venues will close their doors for good," said David Weingarden, the vice president of concerts and events for Z2 Entertainment. Z2 operates venues all over the state including The Fox Theatre, Boulder Theater, and Aggie Theatre.
The virtual festival aims to raise awareness of an industry in peril.
Weingarden was able to reopen some of Z2's venues last weekend, but capacity remains capped.
"We were the first to close and we’re going to be the last to reopen because of having everybody in a closed tight space together," he said.
The current model simply doesn't work for the majority of venues around the state.
"Very few people in music make a lot of money," said Chris Zacher, the executive director of Levitt Pavilion Denver. "These are our daily jobs and we work really hard to make sure that our communities are entertained, our artists have a stage to play on, and we can continue to be an artistic community,
Zacher also co-chairs the National Independent Venue Association's (NIVA) Emergency Relief Fund. The association was born out of the pandemic as a way for venues to pool their resources to lobby Congress for aid. It's also behind the Save Our Stages Fest.
"The money received from this concert is going to help," he said. "It’s a band-aid but it’s not going to solve the problems. The federal government is the only pathway we have to solve the issues of the industry as a whole."
Zacher asked music lovers to watch and contribute. The money raised will go directly to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund and will then be distributed to independent venues most at risk of closing for good.
"Cities and towns need art, music and culture," Weingarden said. "It’s imperative that we not let these venues fail."
NIVA also hopes to galvanize support for its lobbying efforts.
"If we don’t get this federal support, this industry will collapse," Zacher said.
Colorado artists Nathaniel Rateliff and The Lumineers will perform from the Boulder Theater for Save Our Stages Fest.
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