‘Live music is on hold’: Local concert venues urging Congress to pass ‘Save Our Stages Act’

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Local independent music venues are asking for support to help save their industry.

“We just celebrated our 20th anniversary at the beginning of March,” said Cindy Barber, co-owner of the Beachland Ballroom.

Now her venue in the Waterloo Arts District is struggling to survive.

“With these new spikes, everyone is moving to 2021. Big shows that were sold out,” said Barber.

A similar situation for Sean Watterson who owns The Happy Dog in Gordon Square.

 “We’ve had all the expenses of being a business. Rent, insurance, taxes, utilities, all with zero revenue,” said Watterson.

Kathy Blackman says the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights remains closed.

 “We’ve lost five months of shows. We had shows booked every night. A lot of them were sold out. We rescheduled for spring, now those shows are rescheduling for next summer,” said Blackman.

 “Live music is on hold,” said Kelly Flamos, co-owner of Mahall’s in Lakewood.

The owners are all part of the National Independent Venue Association, of which there are nearly 200 independent venues and promoters in Ohio.

They are asking for support in the form of a federal relief bill being negotiated this week, called the Save Our Stages Act.

“We need people who saw those shows to reach out to your legislators. Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman and ask them to support the Save Our Stages Act. Go to SaveOurStages.com and fill it out,” said Megan Van Voorhis, CEO of Arts Cleveland.

Without it, they say  90% of Independent music venues are at risk of closing permanently by the end of this year.

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