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Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Congressman Rally Support for Indie Venues

When Grateful Lifeless cofounder Bob Weir heads out on tour with Lifeless and Firm, the crew extends far past his bandmates. As he defined Tuesday throughout a Zoom convention, an ordinary U.S. tour for the group really entails a employees of 96 — together with native truck drivers, caterer, safety guards, artists designing shirts and posters, and so many others concerned within the live-music financial system.

Allen Scott, Head of Concert events and Festivals for One other Planet Leisure, described the sheer quantity of people effected on the skilled facet as one thing that “spiderwebs out into 1000’s and 1000’s of individuals” — 1000’s of whom have been with out a livelihood for the reason that coronavirus pandemic positioned all live shows and excursions on indefinite maintain.

At a Zoom press convention on Tuesday, Weir, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), Blue Observe Information president Don Was, Derek Featherstone of UltraSound, Napa venue proprietor Ken Tesler and Native 16 stagehand union member Joan Desmond sounded the alarm for impartial venues within the San Francisco Bay Space — and throughout the complete nation — in help of the $10 billion Save Our Phases Act and the Restart Act, which have drawn important help on Capitol Hill and within the music trade, however are but to maneuver ahead in Congress — head right here to seek out out what you are able to do to assist.

Weir stated, “I’m right here at the moment to talk for the remainder of the parents who’re nonetheless making an attempt to do nicely or haven’t carried out nicely but — the roadies, the ticket-takers… it’s simply countless, the variety of folks concerned on this trade.”

Scott didn’t mince phrases when describing the state of affairs venues like APE’s personal Fox Theater in Oakland are at the moment dealing with.

“We had been the primary companies to shut and we’ll be the final to open,” he stated. “Now we have mainly zero {dollars} in income coming in. It is extremely grim. I get the sense from speaking to folks throughout the nation that many companies are holding on by their fingertips, ready to listen to what’s going to occur with this newest COVID reduction invoice. if one thing isn’t carried out right here, I believe we’re going to see a wave of dwell music venues exit of enterprise.”

Whereas the tenor of the panel was undeniably bleak — at one level, Joanne Desmond famous that IATSE Native 16 members are at the moment over 98% unemployed — there was additionally hope provided.

It got here within the type of two payments, each sponsored by Thompson, that everybody agreed had been very important if most of the nation’s most beloved impartial venues are to climate this pandemic. These payments – the Save Our Phases Act and the Restart Act – are unlikely to garner the help to cross as stand-alone laws. Nevertheless, both invoice may very well be included within the (presumably forthcoming) bigger COVID reduction invoice Congress continues to hammer out.

“Each these payments will make certain small venues can keep in enterprise and entertain us for years to return,” Thompson stated of the laws he helped to spearhead. “I’m going to do every little thing in my energy to get these payments signed and handed into legislation.”

Pointing to his perception that music transcends partisanship, Weir summarized the stakes in a fashion befitting of a person whose life will without end be inextricably tied to the tradition of dwell live shows.

“We’d like assist from the federal government,” Weir stated. “And I’d prefer to level out that music crosses social gathering traces. Everyone wants music. I’ll depart it at that. Everyone wants music.”

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