Small Music Venues Get Relief from Nonprofit Live Music Society

After months of being shut down and struggling to make ends meet, small business music venues will, finally, get the help they’ve been asking for. Live Music Society, a new nonprofit organization, announced their launch of relief efforts for the industry.

Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY.

The Society’s first phase is getting monetary grants to 20 small venues around the country. For the first two years of their operation, they promise to give $2 million in grant money to the live music industry.

The Society’s relief program has a broader approach to ensure small venues will get their aid. The Live Music Society Grants will supply philanthropic aid to music venues that have been in operation for three years or more with a sellable capacity of 250 occupants or less, with maximum one-year individual grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000.

Across 14 states, the Society’s first grant recipients are known for their community engagement. Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs is a quaint venue, with a mere 110 seats. This compact concert hall hosted an array of artists throughout the years, most notably, Bob Dylan. Other venues in New York State receiving grants are The Bowery Electric in Manhattan and Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock.

Music is magic. It has tremendous power to connect people and create energy. There are small venues around the country that create soul-filling experiences for their audiences, staff, and for the local and touring musicians that play there. These clubs are a precious and important part of our nation’s music ecosystem, and our goal is to help them continue to be excellent at what they do.

Founder and Board Chairman of Live Music Society Pete Muller

Muller is a singer-songwriter and a champion of music education. He helped in the saving of New York’s Power House Studios along with Berkley College of Music in Boston and the NYC Mayor’s Office of media and entertainment.

As the pandemic soared around the world, live music was put to an abrupt halt, leaving thousands of industry workers jobless.

The National Independent Venue Association pushed hard for economic relief. They were able to get Congress to pass the Save Our Stages Act, which allowed the Small Business Association to give grants and loans to venues, but it only extends to December of this year and there are limitations.

During such trying times, the society’s hope is to keep struggling venues from closing their doors.

Our original goal was to support a small network of like-minded clubs around the country that could share best practices and learn from each other. But then the pandemic hit, and now we are simply trying to help these clubs stay afloat until they can open their doors again.

Executive Director Joyce Lim

Live Music Society will open the next round of applications for the 2021 cycle starting in early January. The criteria for application include:

  • Venues with sellable capacity of 250 seats or less
  • Venues that have been in operation for 3 years or more
  • Venues that are committed to live music as its primary activity

Here are the recipients for the first phase:


(OCTOBER 2020)

The Hotel Café (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Dazzle Denver (Denver, Colo.)

Hi-Dive (Denver, Colo.)

SPACE (Evanston, Ill.)

The Jazz Showcase (Chicago, Ill.)

Club Passim (Cambridge, Mass.)

Jonathan’s Ogunquit (Ogunquit, Maine)

Seven Steps Up (Spring Lake, Mich.)

The Word Barn (Exeter, N.H.)

The Bowery Electric (New York, N.Y.)

Caffé Lena (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)

Levon Helm Studios, Inc. (Woodstock, N.Y.)

BOP STOP @ The Music Settlement (Cleveland, Ohio)

Mercury Lounge (Tulsa, Okla.)

The Kennett Flash (Kennett Square, Pa.)

Club Café (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck (Houston, Texas)

Jammin Java (Vienna, Va.)

Barboza (Seattle, Wash.)

The Royal Room (Seattle, Wash.)

COVID reliefCovid-19live musicNIVArelief fundSave Our Stages