Music venues still without government aid after technical issues; applications to reopen
The Save Our Stages act passed as part of the last COVID package four months ago. If you qualify, you've likely received your stimulus check by now, but unfortunately music venues are still waiting on their financial aid. Applications for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), initially opened on April 8, were quickly closed again because of technical issues with the website. From Billboard:
According to multiple sources who asked to remain anonymous because they are apply for the grants, after the SVOG application portal opened at 12 p.m. EST on Thursday it was rocky from the onset. First, the portal link was not available and then it was not working for many applicants. Once the portal was up and running, applicants were unable to upload any of the documents needed to verify eligibility.
“It’s like a bad onsale,” says one venue owner who was unable to apply. “In order to move through the application, you have to be able to upload documents in support of a lot of questions and the upload functionality isn’t working. Everyone is stuck on the first of four phases of the application."
Adding to the urgency was the fact that submissions were to have been reviewed on a first-come, first served basis. The Small Business Association (SBA), who administers the SVOG, has since confirmed that no applications have been accepted yet, and after calls for action from members of Congress, they've finally announced that they will open to submissions on Saturday, April 24 at 12 PM ET.
The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) released a statement from board member and communications director Audrey Fix Schaefer about the reopening. It reads:
Simply put, this is emergency relief that can’t come too soon. Every single day that passes small businesses are receiving eviction notices, all the while $16 billion has been waiting for them. This is a lifeline for thousands of independent venues and promoters in big towns and in small communities across the nation. When you’ve had revenue losses of more than 90 percent and are in fear of going under, having the opportunity to apply for the grant is a relief, no matter what day of the week it is. We’re thankful our members won’t have to wait much longer.
We're hoping that this submission opening goes much more smoothly than the last, and that independent venues are able to receive the money they need to survive. Stay tuned for updates.