On Tuesday evening (Sept. 1), Nashville’s Metro Council approved a recommendation to give $2 million in emergency support grants from CARES Act funding to Nashville independent music venues that have annual revenues of $5 million or less. The funds for music venues will be administered through Pathway Lending.
Each grant will provide a maximum of two months of current operating expenses, excluding payroll and not to exceed a grant of $100,000 per recipient.
“Live music is the heart and soul of Nashville as well as a huge driver of our local economy,” Metro Council member Courtney Johnston said in introducing the recommendation. “Annually, live music venues account for 5,600 concerts significantly impacting tourism, $5m in compensation to 46,000 musicians, hundreds of jobs, over $2m in state and local taxes, and over $1.1m in rent payments to local property owners.”
Johnston also noted a recent piece from Tennessee Lookout that stated an average of less than six weeks remain until many small, independent Nashville music venues are forced to close their doors, adding that less than 13 weeks from now, all but one would be permanently closed, unless they receive assistance.
“We risk losing the irreplaceable foundation of Nashville’s entire live music ecosystem, the loss of which would be culturally unfathomable and devastating economically,” Johnston said.
The recommendation passed Tuesday evening, with 36 members voting in favor of the bill, while two abstained and one was absent. Additionally, another $2 million was approved for small businesses, though it was noted that venues that receive grants are not also eligible for additional grant dollars through the small and micro businesses grant.
Eligible grant recipients must be live music venues that are independent, Nashville-owned, and primarily used for live music entertainment. Eligible venues must require concert tickets, admissions and/or other cover charges for entry at least 50% of the time the facility is open to the public. The funds are geared toward music venues where ticket sales are required and alcohol and food sales are ancillary to the performance revenues. Eligible venues’ annual receipts for the 12-month period ending Feb. 29, 2020 also cannot exceed five million dollars.
Eligible venues that have been convicted of a citation, warrant or administrative penalty for violation of a Metro emergency COVID-19 public health order can be determined by the committee to be ineligible to receive funds.
A metro council member says following application and approval, venues could expect to receive funds within days. Music venues should reach out to Pathway Lending as they work to prepare applications for eligible music venues.
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