Richmond-area music venues urge Congress to ‘Save Our Stages'

Richmond-area music venues urge Congress to ‘Save Our Stages'

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Campaign organizers with “Save Our Stages” want you to reach out to lawmakers in Washington, DC, and tell them to save the music by giving venues cash now to stay afloat.

"Right now we can use any help we can get," said Matt Hansen, The Camel Owner.

The “Save Our Stages Act” would funnel federal dollars to small music venues including places like The Broadberry and The Camel in Richmond.

"We are literally doing a small fraction of what we were doing," said Hansen.

Both were forced to close for months.

The Broadberry, which can hold more than 500, remains closed due to Governor Ralph Northam’s cap on social gatherings.

"It's difficult when your business model is literally bringing groups of people together to be close to each other and have shared experiences," said Lucas Fritz, The Broadberry and The Camel Owner. "And that is the most unsafe thing to do right now."

The Camel has remained partially running since it also serves food. Now, the establishment is putting on small, socially-distant concerts, selling tables instead of individual tickets and having security take on the role of mask police.

"We've had people dancing in their chairs. It's the best thing we can come up with you know. But yeah it's just a completely different entity right now," said Hansen.

Some venues are also getting creative by live streaming shows and hosting video shoots for bands.

"Neither of those things are getting anywhere close to 2019 revenues but we're doing everything we can to just kind of bridge the gap until there's a solution to the COVID problem," said Fritz.

The "Save Our Stages" campaign says 90% of small music venues stand the chance of never having a show again.

"You're not just talking individual venues, you're talking about economic drivers for neighborhoods and cities as a whole that need a lifeline," said Fritz.

With the United States Senate out for recess until September everything lingers in the balance until Congress returns.

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