A coalition of DC-based musicians, venue owners and music advocates has launched a campaign to ask for government relief of the sector that has been dealt a serious blow by the coronavirus pandemic.
The #SaveDCVenues campaign started by “DC Music Stakeholders” is urging Mayor Muriel Bowser and the DC Council to adopt legislation providing direct financial support to businesses that are dependent on live music for their revenue.
The DC Music Venue Relief Act aims to help these places sustain their businesses from October 2020 through May 2021. The relief is not only meant for music venues, but also small restaurants and bars that host live entertainment.
The Stakeholders formed shortly after the pandemic hit the District in March. They have been holding regular meetings to share information on how to support the city’s music scene that is in crisis.
The coalition will officially deliver an open letter to Council and the administration soon. Over 600 organizations, venues, and musicians have signed the letter so far. Supporters of the music community are encouraged to add their name to the letter.
“COVID-19 has devastated DC’s music community. Since it began, the pandemic has forced the closure of at least four longstanding D.C. music institutions, all four cornerstones of the local music economy who presented the jazz, R&B and soul musicians bearing the torch of D.C.’s legacy of Black music. The most recent casualty is the beloved Twins Jazz, which supported DC’s vibrant jazz scene for 33 years, which announced its closure on August 27,” the coalition said in a press release.
“In order for Mr. Henry’s to preserve our live music space so that live music can resume in the future – when the COVID19 situation safely allows it, some sort of financial help is necessary.” said Mary Quillian Helms, owner of Mr. Henry’s, a restaurant that has been an essential part of DC’s live music and Jazz community.
“Otherwise, live music spaces will get repurposed for non-entertainment activities that are safe and allowed in current times” she continued.