Indiana venues say they are 30-60 days from closing

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INDIANAPOLIS — Entertainment venues say they are 30-60 days away from shutting down permanently.

The Indiana Independent Venue Alliance said federal dollars are the only hope.

Live music venues were one of the first to close and will likely be the last to open.

“We are usually playing two-three times a week, but we’ve had five gigs in the last four and a half months,” said Tom Turner with the band Stella Luna and the Satellites.

They are struggling to book more as many venues are staying closed during the pandemic.

“We’re in the middle of this pivot to outdoor, which is kind of a movement that is happening nationwide,” explained Josh Baker, owner of Hi-Fi in Fountain Square.

The transition to outdoor wasn’t cheap, but it was the only way to provide live music safely in Baker’s eyes.

“While it is great, and it does provide options, it’s really just not economically sustainable for us,” said Baker.

Fundraisers have got them through to this point, but Baker said Congress decides if they have a future.

“Last week, the Save Our Stages Act was introduced, which was the first dedicated piece of legislation at a federal level, which is essentially a $10 billion grant program for these venues,” explained Baker.

The RESTART Act also carves out money for venues.

“About 90% of the rooms nationwide are forecasted to close without any federal relief,” said Baker.

Though these venues have received some local dollars, it wasn’t enough to sustain them. They have no idea what the plan is once winter weather hits.

“We are just trying to use this small window of time to try and generate any amount of revenue,” said Baker. “I think it’s important to note that we’ve lost 100% of our revenue.”

“For a lot of us, it’s our only source of income, so it’s been difficult,” said Turner. He added that he has been buying t-shirts from local artists to help them out during this time.

Many of these venues and artists are taking donations or selling merchandise to keep things going.

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