NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Live music is the heart and soul of Nashville.
The pandemic has been tough on our small, independent music venues and thousands more across the country. That's why dozens of big-name artists are getting together this weekend to help.
SOS Fest kicks off Friday, October 16. SOS stands for Save Our Stages, an effort by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to help struggling venues across the country.
The group was formed after the pandemic, when owners saw just how much they'd have to overcome to survive the pandemic.
"Our whole industry is facing an existential crisis. It's not just the venues, it's the artists, managers, agents, everyone employed," said Chris Cobb, the owner of Exit/In on Nashville's historic Rock Block.
So this weekend, big names like Reba McEntire, Brittany Howard, the Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus, and many more will come together to perform in the online music festival that will raise money to support more than 3,000 venues that are now a part of NIVA.
"Streaming has certainly brought about lots of opportunities that we didn't have before," Cobb said. "We want nothing more than to get back to hosting concerts in person, that's what we do and that's what makes our business work and that's what the fans and the artists need... but it's pretty cool to have Little Big Town and Kelsea Ballerini on stage at EXIT/IN and that wouldn't typically happen."
The full #SOSFEST schedule is here! ⚡️ Things kick off this Friday, Oct 16 @ 5PM PT/8PM ET and go all weekend long. Head to https://t.co/xdfYoIHZFO to catch your favorite artists streaming live from 25 of the most iconic independent venues across the US. Join in to #SaveOurStages pic.twitter.com/gdYPIAgrw0
— National Independent Venue Association (@nivassoc) October 15, 2020
People can make donations online all weekend long at saveourstages.com.
In Nashville, venues like The Ryman, Mercy Lounge, and Exit/In are hosting performers for the festival.
"It means so much for the artists to be willing to give their time to our stages to support independent music venues through this crisis," Cobb said.
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