Two NYC Councilmembers, Justin Brannan of Brooklyn (who was in hardcore bands Indecision and Most Precious Blood before getting into politics), and Keith Powers of Manhattan, have formed the "CBGB Caucus" in the NYC Council to help support independent music venues as they remain closed amid the coronavirus pandemic. They've shared a letter to members of the NYC Congressional Delegation offering their support to efforts by the National Independent Venue Association to keep venues from being forced to shut down (which 90% will be forced to without aid, according to a recent survey). You can read their letter below:
June 23, 2020
Members of the New York City Congressional Delegation,
We are writing to express our support of the National Independent Venue Association's efforts to expand the Federal Paycheck Protection Program to offer more help for businesses like theirs that are completely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are in need of support during this unprecedented time. We need to allow independent music venues to recover in order to preserve some of New York City's -- and our country's -- most important cultural institutions.
With nearly 2,000 venues in all 50 states, the National Independent Venue Association represents an industry that has served as a cultural hub for New Yorkers of all different communities. These businesses have been particularly impacted by the pandemic due to their inability to reopen under profitable conditions for the foreseeable future. This has also affected all of the staff that work at these venues including production staff, managers, promoters, producers, stagehands, drivers, and a myriad of others whose livelihoods cannot resume until the pandemic has passed.
We stand by the proposal to create a benefit which, along with emergency unemployment insurance, would be available to those who cannot work due to a canceled live event or performance during the continuation of the shutdown. This simple change could allow families across New York to continue to pay rent, while preserving our music venues. Flexibility in these programs, especially for the performance industry, is needed now more than ever.
We look forward to working together in order to ensure that this valuable community in our city can get help. We at the Council are happy to lend our support.
Thank you for your consideration, and with any questions, reach out to our offices.
For more on how you can help save independent music venues, visit saveourstages.com, where you can quickly fill out a form to contact your legislators about the need for aid.
You can also help individual NYC music venues survive the pandemic by donating to them directly.
Brannan was recently in the news when he trolled Donald Trump Jr., saying "Your dad is a fascist."