According to a newly published survey from the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), 90 percent of independent venues may be forced to permanently close their doors in the next few months, owing to the financial strain of ongoing coronavirus lockdown measures.
At its start, the analysis of independent venues’ status reiterated that the businesses were among the first to close because of the novel coronavirus pandemic – and will likely be among the last to reopen. Similarly, the report emphasized that these live entertainment establishments are unable to draw revenue presently, but must still find a way to cover bills, insurance costs, and other expenses.
In terms of the study itself, NIVA conducted a survey of its nearly 2,000 member venues and promoters, 90 percent of whom indicated that “they will close permanently in a few months without federal funding.” It was explicitly noted that “current PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] funding will not solve the crisis.”
NIVA disclosed a couple of other points of interest in its report, which shed additional light upon the challenges venues are currently facing.
First, the organization stated that any plan to reopen venues with partial capacity (as some in America have done and as Live Nation is currently doing in New Zealand) “is not economically feasible … payroll, taxes, insurance, and artist pay are not on a sliding scale matching the capacity we’re permitted to host. They are fixed costs.”
Plus, owing to the “national routing” of contemporary tours, NIVA signaled that “our industry will not recover” until each state has fully reopened its economy. The point is potentially problematic given the differing approaches that governors (and local leaders) are taking in directing their reopening initiatives.
For instance, Missouri Governor Mike Parson said last month that fans could immediately resume attending concerts and music festivals in his state. Today, however, Chicago officials nixed Lollapalooza 2020 as part of a blanket ban on live events.
NIVA’s report closed by describing the support that some members of Congress have offered the live event industry thus far, as well as possible ways of helping venues to weather the COVID-19 crisis’s financial fallout.