Musicians on Broadway worry financial problems will continue after reopening

Posted at 4:35 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:50:32-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As the city begins to phase back into reopening, it still could take up to year before things are back to normal and that includes the sights and sounds on Broadway.

Mayor John Cooper and Metro Nashville health officials released a four-phase plan to reopen the city's economy.

In phase three, which would be another 14 days at a minimum from phase two, restaurants and bars would return to full capacity. In addition, live performances will be permitted with social distancing.

Sasha McVeigh went from singing on the stages of Nashville’s famous honky tonks to her living room couch.

"I burst into tears; I mean I held it together for a couple of minutes but then that realty just set in, what am I going to do," said McVeigh.

She filed for unemployment, and in her free time she has helped other self-employed musicians sign up for benefits as well.

After weeks of waiting, McVeigh says as of Thursday night, many artist have been approved for unemployment benefits.

"I don’t know when we’ll actually see that money but at least we know it’s there," said McVeigh.

As she prepares for the city to reopen, she said she can’t help but to know it won’t be the same.

"It’s just going to be a very different landscape, I think people are going to be very reluctant to take tip money, just merely because you don’t know where that money has been," said McVeigh.

She also believes many people will want to hold on to their money because of this recent hard times and continue to stay indoors.

McVeigh is also worried the newly struggling downtown bars and restaurants won’t have enough to pay artists.

She said depending on the venue, an artist can get paid anywhere from $40 to $100 per band member.

"People are concerned that the base pay is going to get cut and if you’re already only being paid $40 anyway, you can’t really afford to take a cut," said McVeigh, who is trying to stay optimistic. "I have no doubt that we are going to bounce back from this, I just don’t know when that it is."

McVeigh said she believes many artists will live off of their unemployment before returning back to live performances.