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Los Angeles venues, festivals form coalition to push for aid

More than 100 independent venues, promoters, and festivals in Los Angeles have formed a coalition to push state and local lawmakers to provide funding for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Los Angeles Independent Venue Coalition (LAIVC) will advocate for emergency funding, fee reductions, and science-backed reopening plans.

The coalition is composed of venues and promoters ranging from comedy to classical, including the Los Angeles Theatre, BeachLife Festival and Club Los Globos, among many others.

Heather Martin, co-founder of LAIVC and owner of Because of the Night Agency, said: “Independent venues are the backbone of the Los Angeles creative economy that generates $139.7bn and employs over 400,000 local workers. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen at full capacity.”

LAIVC has already earned the support of California Assembly member Laura Friedman, who has rallied bi-partisan support to request funding to save California’s stages.

In her letter to senior lawmakers Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Toni Atkins, Friedman wrote: “We write to raise your awareness about independent live music venues throughout the State of California and urge your consideration of including a targeted appropriation in the State Budget specifically for these venues.

“These independent venues are not only the foundation of our local creative economies, employing thousands of Californians; they also serve as catalysts for socio-economic inclusion and powerful platforms for emerging and independent artists.”

Other members of the coalition include 1720, Lethal Amounts, Bootleg Theater, The Bourbon Room, The Airliner, The Colony Theatre and the Maui Sugar Mill Saloon.

LAIVC has also called on members of the National Independent Venues Association (NIVA), which has an expanding list of more than 3,000 members nationally, to get in touch to get involved in LA’s movement.

Indoor entertainment and sports venues in Los Angeles County were given the green light from the state to reopen to the public on April 15. However, many smaller venues are slow to make that move due to weighing the cost of reopening against the capacity restrictions and whether it is financially feasible.

Under California guidelines, indoor venues that can hold up to 1,501 people in counties that have reached the orange tier for the state’s pandemic restrictions must limit capacity to 15 per cent or 200 people, whichever is less. LA County was moved into the orange tier earlier this month.

Image: Floyd B. Bariscale / CC BY-NC 2.0 / Edited for size