Save our Stages Act: Last ditch effort to save 90% of independent venues, many in Birmingham

Local News

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The National Independent Venue Association is making a major push, and teaming up with Senators, for congress to offer a relief package of $10 billion to independently-owned entertainment venues.

The package would give each venue 45% of their gross revenue, or six months worth of revenue, so they would be able to pay expenses accrued since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

View from the Alabama Theatre stage.

They were among the first businesses to close when the pandemic hit and they’re predicted to be the last ones open. Entertainment venues across Alabama and the US have worked with the National Independent Venues Association to form Save our Stages Act. In which, it is asking Congress for $10 billion to keep independent theaters from going out of business, after months without events.

An empty Iron City as COVID-19 has put a temporary stop to live concerts.

No events have largely meant no revenue. Well-known Birmingham-area concert promoter Todd Coder, of Code R Productions, said this money, which would pay each venue 45 percent of their gross revenue, is their last shot to save the industry.

“Save our Stages is specifically tailored to venues and entertainment businesses like ours,” Coder said. “If we don’t get some sort of federal aid, it’s predicted 90% of entertainment venues in the U.S. will go out of business.”

At a time when no revenue is coming in while the costs stay the same, this act would offer them a major reprieve. 

“We’re all in the same boat,” he said. We’re all in the position where revenues have gone to Zero but expenses have basically stayed the same.”

The venues aren’t the only ones being hurt if they go under.

The city of Birmingham would take an economic and cultural hit if venues close.

“The money spent at a music venue for a concert has ancillary effects all around it,” Coder said. Whether it’s going to a restaurant before or going somewhere afterward. The economic impact of our industry is monumental. The whole complexity of those markets and every market in the US that will be affected by this without federal aid changes, and it doesn’t change for the better.”

Local businesses and restaurants get ancillary benefit from entertainment venues.

Senator Doug Jones signed onto the bill yesterday. He joins several senators from across the US on both sides of the aisle. 

Details as to when congress will make their decision will be coming in the next couple of weeks. 

Link to sign form below.

To add your voice to the movement you can go to saveourstages.com, fill out the form and have a prepared fully written letter that you can send to your local senator.


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