A new report from a coalition of Chicago’s independent music venues reports staggering losses since the COVD-19 lockdown began in the city in March.
The Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) revealed the numbers in a release announcing the formation of a new national body representing more than 1,000 venues, amid industry worries that the benefits of the federal Paycheck Protection Program may pass us by.
The report takes into consideration events from 16 of CIVL’s 20+ Chicago venues. These venues have cancelled or postponed more than 1,200 events in the period between March 15 to April 30, with an estimated $7.1 million in lost revenue. This has effected 206 full-time jobs and 1,702 part-time jobs in the local industry, with lost wages in excess of $3.4 million.
CIVL members have helped organize the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), an industry body made up of more than 800 independent music venues across the US. On April 22, CIVL and NIVA recently sent a letter to the congressional leadership expressing concern about the survival of independent music venues.
“Our businesses were among the first go close as COVID-19 spread across the country, and unfortunately, are also likely to be among the last to reopen,” the letter reads. “Recently, leaders in both California and New York expressed skepticism about the return of concerts and live events until at least 2021.” If that prediction comes true, the letter continues, employees and artists face the specter of unemployment for a year – or longer.
Venues remaining closed through 2020 will result in a loss of nearly $9 billion in revenue, according to Pollstar.
The venues are urging congress to help by modifying the existing PPP program to help their specific but not unusual circumstances.
Read the letter here.