Independent Music Venues Hope for Federal Bailout

Congress is currently considering the SaveOurStages Act, which would infuse struggling business with much needed cash

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Almost 35 independent music venues in the Chicagoland area are hoping to get a financial boost from the federal government.   

For the past four months, Chicago Independent Venue League has been lobbying Congress to support the Save our Stages Act, a bill that would provide six months of financial support for struggling venues. The bill was introduced on Wednesday. 

“Ninety percent of us, our studies are showing, will be shut down and closed forever, if we don’t get any sort of government relief,” Chris Bauman of the Zenith Music Group said.

Bauman owns The Patio Theater in Portage Park and Avondale Music Hall on Milwaukee Avenue. 

“Because we are a Phase 5 business, that means we can’t operate as we were and the music scene in Chicago can’t be restored until there’s a vaccine,” he said. 

Independent music venues have been among the hardest hit businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic shutdown. The National Independent Venue Association said live events account for 75% of all artists’ income, and for every $1 ​spent on a ticket at small venues, a total of $12 in economic activity is generated at nearby restaurants, hotels and retail establishments. 

“I will say for certain, this is the lifeline that all venues need,” Joe Shanahan, owner of Chicago's Metro music venue, said.

To support Chicago's favorite live music spots, visit and send a letter to local representatives in Congress.

“We were mandated closed by the state, closed by the city, we do not want to reopen until it’s absolutely 100% safe," Shanahan said.

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