Live entertainment venues hungry for financial relief after year of pandemic closures

Live entertainment venues hungry for financial relief after year of pandemic closures

The click of a light switch echoes eerily these days inside the cavernous empty Stone Church music club in Brattleboro, Vermont. Owner Robin Johnson says the silence is a daily reminder of a devastating pandemic year without live performances in the hall.

“When we first closed, I think everyone was of the mindset that it would be a couple of months and we’d be back, it would be OK,” Johnson told ABC News. “It all evolved and changed so rapidly.”

Hundreds of live entertainment venues nationwide — which were among the first businesses to close after the coronavirus pandemic hit and are now among the last to fully reopen — are teetering on the brink of financial insolvency, even as other sectors of the US economy slowly come back to life. Many have already closed for good.

“We’re estimating about 300, unfortunately, and that the type of thing that’s just crushing every single day. And when I open my laptop and get a note about another, it’s just devastating because it was through no fault of their own,” said Audrey Fix Schaefer with the National Independent Venues Association.

Broadway theaters in New York City went dark exactly a year ago this week and won’t reopen until May at the earliest. From the New Orleans jazz scene to California’s Sunset Strip, many legendary stages and nightclubs say they are on the brink of closing for good.

In late December 2020, Congress approved…

Read More from abc13.com

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