NYC Council Members form Caucus to support Independent Music Venues

Former hardcore musician and NYC Council Member Justin Brannan of Brooklyn and NYC Council Member Keith Powers of Manhattan have formed the “CBGB Caucus” to help support independent music venues during the pandemic. The councilmen hope to protect and help small venues from being forced to close during these trying times. 

Brannan was a member of hardcore bands Indecision and Most Precious Blood before getting into politics. This close connection to being a musician and the need to keep venues afloat is one of the reasons behind the formation of “CBGB Caucus.” CBGB is an historic a New York City music club that opened in 1973 and closed its doors in 2006.

According to Brooklyn Vegan, the councilman, “shared a letter to members of the NYC Congressional Delegation offering their support to efforts by the National Independent Venue Association.” Currently, 90% of venues will be forced to shut down without much needed aid the councilmen are pushing for. 

To help support and save independent music venues, visit SaveOurStages.com where you can quickly fill out a form to contact your legislators about the need for aid for venues. You can also help support individual NYC music venues survive the pandemic by donating to them directly. A list of venues you can donate too can be found here.

The full letter can be read below:

Members of the New York City Congressional Delegation,

We are writing to express our support of the National Independent Venue Association’s efforts to expand the Federal Paycheck Protection Program to offer more help for businesses like theirs that are completely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are in need of support during this unprecedented time. We need to allow independent music venues to recover in order to preserve some of New York City’s — and our country’s — most important cultural institutions.

With nearly 2,000 venues in all 50 states, the National Independent Venue Association represents an industry that has served as a cultural hub for New Yorkers of all different communities. These businesses have been particularly impacted by the pandemic due to their inability to reopen under profitable conditions for the foreseeable future. This has also affected all of the staff that work at these venues including production staff, managers, promoters, producers, stagehands, drivers, and a myriad of others whose livelihoods cannot resume until the pandemic has passed.

We stand by the proposal to create a benefit which, along with emergency unemployment insurance, would be available to those who cannot work due to a canceled live event or performance during the continuation of the shutdown. This simple change could allow families across New York to continue to pay rent, while preserving our music venues. Flexibility in these programs, especially for the performance industry, is needed now more than ever.

We look forward to working together in order to ensure that this valuable community in our city can get help. We at the Council are happy to lend our support.

Thank you for your consideration, and with any questions, reach out to our offices.

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