Now, as part of the National Independent Venue Association, he’s helping other venues in Kentucky navigate what’s turned out to be a complicated process to get help from the government. “Obviously zero revenue for well over a year is not a good business plan,” Hardison said. Congress passed the Save Our Stages Act back in December, setting up a fund where concert halls, theaters and other small venues can get up to $10 million dollars each, all based on revenue lost in 2020.
“I’m not gonna lie, it’s been tough,” co-owner Billy Hardison said. “But we’ve rolled with the punches and knowing that we weren’t alone was helpful.”
Hardison wasn’t alone: every music venue had to close when the coronavirus hit, and he says it was a rough time for the entire industry. Save Our Stages Act was passed in December to help entertainment venues
Applying for funds hasn’t been easy because of technical issues
Some owners, like Louisville’s Headliners, have been informed they will be receiving money soon
The Small News Administration finally let the first group of owners know their applications through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program were processed on May 28, meaning the eligible owners should get money two weeks later. U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Louisville) co-sponsored the Save Our Stages Act and said he’s proud to help the local arts scene. “Giving money to our industry is a new concept, so it’s frustrating but we’re making our way through,” Hardison said. “It’s just that every day that goes by is one day closer to death for a lot of our venues.”
The system to apply for money got off to a rocky start in April, crashing shortly after its launch and having technical issues ever since. “I’ve seen some success stories around the country of venues and artists that have been able to make moves to stay engaged (the past year), but that’s all been at a reduced capacity and reduced revenue,” Hardison said.
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