Independent music venues band together to "#saveourstages"

Posted at 6:30 PM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 18:30:51-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — "The world's going to feel better when they can start seeing music again, and all kinds of music," promotions director at Tralf Music Hall Jeremy Hoyle said. "Start being entertained again, and laugh again, and dance again. Sing with their friends again. Put their arms around their friends again."

For more than two months, music venues throughout Western New York and beyond have been on an extended intermission.

"The first was kind of South by Southwest. And then it was Coachella that got canceled," partner at Buffalo Iron Works Josh Holtzman said. "Then, I really had an idea that there was a likely chance that we were gonna have to shut down."

Buffalo Iron Works has not held an event since March 14.

"It was actually our big St. Paddy's day show," Holtzman said.

Since then, it's been lights out for the independent music venue.

"If we don't have a concert, we're not open," he adds.

Since mid-march, Buffalo Iron Works has canceled upwards of 60 shows.

"You know it's certainly over $100,000 worth of lost revenue, if not more," Holtzman said.

And if recreational spaces remain closed throughout the remainder of the year, "it could get to a point where we may be so far in the hole that we can't re-open," Holtzman said.

So they're teaming up with the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a non-profit organization helping thousands of local venues around the country stay afloat.

"Since we started, over 1500 mom and pop venues and local promoters have come together and joined NIVA," Western New York representative of NIVA Chris Ring said. "All with one goal in mind, which is to petition for additional federal funding."

"As we all know, there's power in numbers, and people have to have a voice," Holtzman said. "I can go out there and shout to the rooftops to congress and other government officials that we need help. But, to have over 1000 venues nationwide band together and actually put activations in place to actually get grants and help. It's going to go much much faster."

Already, more than 500 thousand letters have been sent to US Senators and local representatives in the country.

"When it comes to live entertainment and music, we have to save our stages," Holtzman said. "If we lose that, we lose a part of us."

Local officials here in Western New York, like Congressman Higgins and Senator Gilibrand, have shown support to our local music venues. They are working with the NIVA partners in our area to keep them in business.