The music industry was hit hard when Covid swept around the world, leaving many theaters and studios in the dumps. In an attempt to restore many of these venues and keep them financially stable, the Small Business Administration (SBA) started a program with a $16 billion budget but, one question remains, is it enough?
Liz Tallent, head of marketing and special events at venue Orange Peel, shared the hardships the pandemic brought about, which nearly caused them to close down. With a wide variety of musicians scheduled to appear throughout 2020 and 2021, the venue continued to host events, holding most outdoors with social distance in mind. However, just like many other venues of this type, they barely broke even, feeling a loss in revenue and unable to keep up with costs.
What’s The Hold-Up?
When news of the SBA’s plan surfaced, The Orange Peel, like many others, began looking into the specifics and checking dates to apply. The goal was to help small venues hosting music and theatrical events, signed into law in late December. It was part of the previous administration’s attempt to relieve the financial burdens from Covid.
Like any other government program, venues started digging, gathering the documentation necessary to qualify for the program. After weeks of filling out forms and organizing all of the paperwork, Orange Peel filed for the Small Venue Operators Grant (SVOG). Though hopeful, the organization started to experience technical issues, claiming that they would open up again in a few weeks.
With financial issues caused by Covid, time is of the essence, and as each day passes, more businesses will shut down. It is not yet estimated the amount of damage the Covid pandemic will cause on the economy, leaving many music venues less than hopeful for a means of bouncing back.
Losing A Piece of History
One of the saddest things is, many of these small venues have been in these local areas for years. With a rich history and several memorable events, it’s like a piece of each town will go missing along with the venue, forever marking the memory of Covid-19’s damage. Programs like this are too late, coming far after the first closures and state-wide quarantines in the United States, which happened around the summer of 2020. More than a year after the virus first appeared in the United States, venues are still struggling, hanging on by a thread.
With the delays, more businesses are sure to shut down. When asked how long the Orange Peel had until permanently shutting doors, they claimed “six weeks.” If delays go on, it could be six weeks before venues are even able to turn in requested forms and paperwork. While Orange Peel still has an ounce of hope, others have given up and decided to go ahead and shut doors after more than a year of struggling. The music industry is not the only industry, and it’s unsure of what position we’ll be in a few years from now.