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Rep. Williams Introduces Bill to Provide Relief for Independent Music Venues

Jul 27, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. Congressmen Roger Williams (R-TX-25) and Peter Welch (D-VT-At large) today introduced the Save Our Stages Act, to provide grants from the Small Business Administration to independent music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced the Senate companion version of the legislation.

“Live music venues have been uniquely affected by the government’s actions during COVID-19, especially here in the Austin area. Unlike some businesses on the road to recovery, music venues that have been cultural staples for generations will continue to bear the negative impacts of the pandemic for the foreseeable future,” said Congressman Williams. “I’m proud to introduce the Save Our Stages Act to help preserve these iconic venues that define states like Texas and create thousands of jobs while generating billions of dollars into our economy. It’s my hope that with the help of Congress, our venues will once again be able to open their doors to thousands of concertgoers and welcome their next act to the stage.”

“Without emergency federal assistance, our $10 billion industry’s collapse is imminent,” said Adam Hartke, co-chair of NIVA’s Advocacy Committee and president of Hartke Presents.  “We were the first to close, have no revenue, but we still have all the colossal overhead of rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance, and taxes, so it’s no wonder that when NIVA members were surveyed they said if the shutdown lasts 6 months or longer and there’s no federal help, they’ll shutter forever. We’re incredibly grateful to Representatives Welch and Williams for sponsoring The Save Our Stages Act, which will provide the assistance we need to get through the shutdown until we can reopen safely and once again become the economic generators for our communities that we’ve always been.”

To view bill text, please click here.

Congressman Williams in May sent a letter to House leadership urging Congress to provide relief for independent music venues in the next coronavirus stimulus package. To view the letter, please click here.

Quotes of support from artists:

Kevin Fowler
“Texas is known worldwide for our amazing music scene. Who can imagine Texas without it’s iconic music venues and dancehalls? Gruene Hall, Floore’s Country Store and Billy Bob’s to name just a few. We must do everything in our power to save our musical venues and cultural heritage. It would be a shame to let Covid-19 take these music venues from us and our future generations. Let’s please all join together to save our venues. Without them Texas music dies right now!”

Josh Abbott
“Independent music and entertainment venues have been severely impacted by the inability to operate as a business during COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. These venues house and curate young artists, local artists, and national touring artists which stimulates economy, provides entertainment for the community, and preserves the cultural importance of music and art. I am proud of Reps. Williams and Welch for introducing a bill protecting these venues from collapsing.”

Randy Rogers
“As an owner of an independent live music venue, as well as a recording artist that has toured all over the country playing thousands of rooms, I know firsthand how much our industry is hurting. These small rooms, dance halls, theaters and amphitheaters are not only integral parts of their communities, but they are also the livelihood for countless road warriors.  If these doors close forever, we may never discover the next George Strait or Jay Z. The time to support these small business owners and preserve our music culture is now, before it’s too late.”

Wade Bowen
“Live Music Venues… are the heart and soul of big cities and small towns alike.  Apart from their substantial economic impact–creating revenue for musicians, bartenders, security personnel, radio stations, newspapers, food and beer distributors, etc…–they play a vital role in the culture and community of the city/area they serve.”

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Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services.