Music Venues Watch Washington As Momentum Builds Toward COVID-19 Relief Package


Sunday, December 6th 2020, 4:48 pm
By: Storme Jones


OKLAHOMA CITY -

There is renewed hope Congress could vote on another COVID-19 relief package as early as this week. 

consensus is growing in Washington, D.C. that the next package should include funding for independent music venues.

“The timing has got to be right now,” Tower Theater operating partner Chad Whitehead said. “Venues have already been closed for nine months. It’s looking like at least another nine months or beyond before regular touring starts to come back and no business can survive 18 months of impact like that.”

A week and a half ago, Tower Theater decided to close their doors to in-person events for the rest of 2020 as positive COVID-19 cases surged across Oklahoma City.

“The big focus of Tower Theater is now looking towards 2021 and asking that difficult question of how does a venue like Tower (Theater) stay alive,” Whitehead said.

Relief may be on the way. The Save Our Stages Act has 171 bi-partisan co-sponsors including Oklahoma’s Tom Cole, Frank Lucas and Kendra Horn.

The bill would provide $15 billion to independent music and comedy venues. It is also being considered as part of another federal COVID-19 relief package.

“If this package doesn’t come through, because of the timing of how everything is shaping up for next year, it really gets dicey for venues because at some point we have to start looking at maybe making even harder choices and harder cuts and we don’t want do that,” Whitehead said.