Federal Save Our Stages Act could help preserve Birmingham’s small music venues

Birmingham
I miss concerts in Birmingham’s amazing venues. Photo via Iron City on Facebook

Live music venues—especially small, independent ones—are some of the hardest hit businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new bill in Congress could help establish a $10 billion Small Business Administration grant to aid our small music venues.

#SaveOurStages

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at the Alabama Theatre. Photo by Josh Weichman, via the Alabama Theatre on Facebook

Once it became clear that we would not be seeing concerts any time soon, the National Independent Venue Association launched the #SaveOurStages movement, aiming to get Congressional attention. NIVA’s Save Our Stages campaign discovered that, without relief, 90% of the independent music venues across the United States are in danger of closing. Over 600 artists—including Lady Gaga, Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish Neil Young, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson and Coldplay—signed a letter encouraging legislators to financially support small music venues.

On Wednesday, July 22, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Senator John Cornyn introduced their co-authored Save Our Stages Act. If passed, the Save Our Stages Act would offer six months of financial support for small venues. This support would help them pay rent, mortgages, taxes, operation costs and employees. The $10 billion program would offer each eligible small venue either 45% of operation costs from 2019 or $12 million, whichever is lesser.

Which Birmingham music venues would be affected?

The Alabama Theatre
The new, recently-installed Alabama Theatre sign . Photo via The Alabama Theatre’s Facebook page

If passed, the Save Our Stages Act could help Birmingham’s music venues stay afloat. Independent venues, such as Iron City, the Alabama + Lyric Theatres, Zydeco, WorkPlay and more would all be eligible.

However, the bill narrowly defines which venues are eligible, in order to prevent large, international corporations from receiving federal grant funding. Learn more about the qualifications.

Do Your Part to Save Birmingham’s Stages

One day, we’ll be able to have concerts again. Act now to save our unique Birmingham venues. Photo via Iron City on Facebook

Since time is of the essence, proponents of the Save Our Stages Act want Congress to vote on the Bill before they go away for their August recess. In the meantime, there are several ways you can help preserve Birmingham’s music venues:

Want to see the Save Our Stages Act passed? Click here to find out how to reach out to your representatives.

  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.