NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Independent Music Venues across the country are coming together in a push for more federal aid, as coronavirus-related closures continue.
The group, which formed last month, is called the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), and has members from all over the country. About two dozen Nashville music venues have joined the group, including iconic venues like Station Inn, the Bluebird Cafe, EXIT/IN and even Ryman Auditorium.
"I don't see how you can overstate the importance of these venues to a town like Nashville, this is Music City, USA," Chris Cobb, co-owner of EXIT/IN, said.
The group was formed as many venues face unprecedented uncertainty.
"We don't when we'll be able to open again," Cobb said. "It's an existential crisis that we're all experiencing right now."
Cobb said while almost every industry is suffering because of COVID-19, music venues are in a unique situation.
"The core of what we do is gather people closely together; so we're going to be some of the last ones that are able to get back to business as usual," Cobb said. In Metro Nashville's phased re-opening plan, music venues are in the final phases. "And we're not able to offer concerts to-go curbside, you know?"
NIVA has started to push for more federal aid to help venues make it through the closures. According to the group, 90 percent of its members said if closures last six months, they won't be able to reopen.
"It's a sobering statistic and its sad to think about," Cobb said. "We were the first to close, we're going to be the last to open, and without some extra help, the vast majority of us are unlikely to see the other side"
NIVA members are calling on music fans to help lobby Congress to allocate more money for venues. You can find more information on how to help on NIVA's website.