The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is advocating for financial support for independent music venues, an estimated 90% of which could be forced to shut down without government aid. Congress adjourned until mid-September without passing a new coronavirus relief package, much less one that includes one of the bills that would help venues survive; with most venues closed since mid-March without an opening date in sight, their need for relief has never been greater. On Tuesday (8/18), NIVA held a press conference outside one of NYC's independent venues, Baby's All Right, to emphasize the need for action. Senator Chuck Schumer, LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, NIVA Executive Director and Marauder co-founder Rev. Moose, Elsewhere's Dhruv Chopra, Le Poisson Rouge's Justin Kantor, Blue Note Entertainment Group President Steve Bensusa, The Stand's Cris Italia, Iridium's Grace Blake, Baby's All Right's Billy Jones, House of Yes' Kae Burke, and artist Sean McVerry were among the speakers, and you can watch it in full below, and see some attendee tweets and Instagram posts.

"Independent venues, like theaters and concert halls, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the economy," Schumer said. "These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to reopen. That’s why it’s so important to provide dedicated federal assistance to independent venues so when it is safe, we can gather again for music, comedy, theater and other live performances in venues that have been around for generations. I’m proud to co-sponsor the Save Our Stages Act, and I’ll fight to include federal funding for independent venues in any coronavirus relief legislation."

"These venues are places that occupy parts of cities that nobody wants to be in when they start," Murphy said. "They fill in the gaps and communities spring up around them. They take those warehouses that nobody wanted to be in and they build places that foster the most diverse music scene in the world. Thank you to the venues that let me play and let me work for the 30 years I’ve lived here. We’re not going to be able to rebuild these from zero. You can’t knock out all the mom and pops and think that more mom and pops will spring up. If we knock them out, it’s just chains. Write your senators and ask them to support this bill - it’s critical, or this whole industry is going to go away without it. The very nature of being independent means these people, these centers, don’t have the kind of voice that bigger companies do have - they need your voice, so please do your best to support them."

Visit NIVA to learn how you can contact your representatives and ask them to support venues.

More From Brooklyn Vegan