Michigan venues and promoters are asking for millions in relief funds

Michigan venues and promoters are asking for millions in relief funds
Jim Cohen

It's been more than six months since most of us attended a concert where we ordered beers the size of our forearm, bumped into an ex only to grind all up on a stranger, all while standing totally united in telling the “Play 'Free Bird'” guy to shut the hell up. And, unfortunately, it's going to be a while longer — up to a year, according to health experts — until we can likely do it again, safely.

But there is yet another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, aside from our FOMO and the totally avoidable death of 200,000 Americans. (Fuck you, Trump!) More than 3,000 small and mid-size music venues and promotional companies across the country, including those throughout Michigan, face permanent closure. As a result, those venues have banded together to form the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

Should they not receive any assistance, venues are estimated to suffer a 90% loss in revenue since closing in mid-March, and — due to the stipulations tied to receiving small business loans like PPP, like being able to actually employ people — many may not reopen at all, even when it is safe to do so.

As part of their efforts, NIVA's Michigan-based members have launched #SaveMIStages, a campaign to encourage Michigan's state officials to create a relief fund, consisting of $10 million, to help with overhead costs associated with these music venues to ensure we can rage in our favorite spot once this is all over.

“The Machine Shop in Flint has hosted thousands of rock and country concerts for almost 19 years. The economic impact to this area goes well beyond our walls,” owner Kevin Zink said in a press release.

“The local restaurants, hotels, gas stations, etc. all benefit greatly from us bringing in people from hundreds of miles around, over 100 times per year. Our fundraising and charity work also benefits organizations locally and nationally. We have gone over six months by no fault of our own without any income or assistance. We need the #SaveMIStages fund to be created in order to make it to the other side of this pandemic.”

The #SaveMIStages campaign runs through the week and asks those who support Michigan venues to contact state-level elected officials and ask that those relief funds be set aside and to be distributed among those venues in need of help.

To learn more, visit SaveMIStages.com.

Michigan-based NIVA members include:

20 Front Street, Lake Orion
Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre, Detroit
Aretha's Jazz Cafe, Detroit
Armageddon Beachparty Lounge, Detroit
Audiotree Presents, Detroit
Black Crystal Group, Ann Arbor
Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac
Deluxx Fluxx, Detroit
Diesel Theatre, Chesterfield
El Club, Detroit
Elektricity, Pontiac
Elevation, Grand Rapids
eXodos Rooftop Lounge, Detroit
Flint Local 432, Flint
Fusion Shows, Lansing
Gopherwood Concerts, Cadillac
Grand Circus Media, Grosse Pointe Park
Historic Masonic Temple of Bay City, Bay City
Kalamazoo State Theatre, Kalamazoo
Listening Room, Grand Rapids
Mac’s Bar, Lansing
Magic Bag, Ferndale
MeanRed Productions, Detroit
Meridian Entertainment Inc, Lansing
Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor
Midland Center for the Arts, Midland
Midtown Music Venture, Detroit
MiEntertainment Group, Grand Rapids
Murray & Peter Present, Southfield
National Rock Review // Dearborn
Necto, Ann Arbor
Obscurrus Diem Productions, Kalkaska
Ore Dock Brewing Company, Marquette
Otus Supply, Ferndale
Overdrive, Lansing
Park Theatre Foundation, Holland
PJ's Lager House, Detroit
Seven Steps Up Live Music + Events, Spring Lake
St. Cecilia Music Center, Grand Rapids
Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill, Grand Rapids
The Acorn, Three Oaks
The Ark, Ann Arbor
The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor
The Block, Muskegon
The Crofoot Presents, Pontiac
The Franke Center for the Arts, Marshall
The Grassshopper Underground, Ferndale
The Intersection, Grand Rapids
The Loft, Lansing
The Machine Shop Concert Lounge, Flint
The Majestic Theatre Center, Detroit
The Marble Bar, Detroit
The Mint, Grand Rapids
The Pyramid Scheme, Grand Rapids
The Robin Theatre, Lansing
The Sanctuary, Detroit
The Showroom at Younger's Tavern, Romeo
The Stache, Grand Rapids
The Token Lounge, Westland
The Vault, Saginaw
The Ypsi, Ypsilanti
Trinity Horse Theatre, Livonia
Trinosophes, Detroit
TV Lounge, Detroit
Wayside Central, Mount Pleasant
Wealthy Theatre, Grand Rapids
Ziggy's, Ypsilanti

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