As the pandemic continues to run through America with unabated fury, we in the music scenes are watching the news roll in about our favorite venues, bands, and record stores closing up shop for good. It turns out giving out a one time payment of $1,200 in April to only some people and allowing businesses like Shake Shack to call themselves “small” may have the unfortunate effect of not actually helping Athens and similar towns that much at all.
As Variety reports here, the House has passed a $2.2 trillion “Heroes Act” that includes a $10 billion bi-partisan act to provide help to live venues and those who work in them. It’s gone to the Senate where it has a high chance of stalling because…Senate. This is infuriating and frustrating for so many reasons that I don’t have time to list here but it has me wondering what in the world to do. I don’t want a world where the Caledonia, 40 Watt, Wuxtry, and so many others no longer exist. Especially when there was a way to save them all. That’s where the Save Our Stages act comes in. Please take a minute to review the act and understand how badly it is needed.
So if you, like I, are looking for a way to feel even somewhat useful during these times, please consider doing the following to help save our local venues and support all the good folk who run them and perform in them.
- Vote. Yes, I know you’re tired of every brand in the universe telling you to vote. Thank you, Old Navy, I shall absolutely vote only because you reminded me! But voting is the most straightforward way to make yourself heard. Look at who supports recovery bills and follow your heart and brain.
- Call your Senator. As of this writing, my two Senators Loeffler and Perdue are completely and utterly useless to contact but I do it anyway because I want my support for Save Our Stages on record. Other options include asking your out of state friends to call their Senators and Reps, especially if they’re waffling or middle of the road.
- Go local. Here in the ACC there have been quite a few folk in the local government working on local grants geared towards the arts. Support those! If there are places running GoFundMes or Patreons or the like, give money if you can.
- Buy merch. If you don’t have the cash, it’s okay but with the holidays coming up soon, please consider buying venue t-shirts, gift cards, hats, whatever they have.
- Stream the live shows. Some venues are doing live stream events from their floors. Others are doing re-airings of older shows. Whatever the case, pony up a few quarters and enjoy some music while you work.