Intro from Charlotte on the Cheap
I’m Jody Mace, the founder and publisher of Charlotte on the Cheap, and I’d like to speak directly to you about our local music. One of the missions of this website has always been to help local musicians and venues find a new audience. Local music has been so intertwined with Charlotte on the Cheap for 11 years that I can’t imagine this website, or the community we’ve built around it, without it. It’s not just that local music fills up our events calendar. I’ve met many of you at shows and we’ve become friends. I’ve shared my favorite music with you, and you’ve introduced your favorite music with me.
Today, after more than five months of closure, our independently owned music venues are at their breaking point, and the 13 venues who joined together to create the Charlotte Independent Venue Alliance (CIVA) are asking the public join with them in asking local and state officials to use some of the CARES funds to help venues survive this economic catastrophe.
Please read the open letter from the venues, and sign and share the petition.
An Open Letter to the Charlotte Music Community and All Who Desire Charlotte to be an Interesting, Dynamic, Thriving City
The breaking point has arrived. If Charlotte independent music venues don’t get the support they need soon, there won’t be any left by the time we are allowed to reopen.
Independent music venues are much more than bars or restaurants with some music. They are economic engines, neighborhood centers, small business launchpads, cultural accelerators, beloved institutions, and most importantly, community builders. A recent Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activity in their neighborhoods — meals, coffee, local transportation, hotels, retail, parking, etc. Can Charlotte really afford to watch local music venues close their doors for good?
In March, soon after the last local live music shows, thirteen local independent music venues formed the Charlotte Independent Venue Alliance. The original impetus was to develop a shared set of safe reopening guidelines. Local venues are still committed to opening safely when they are allowed to do so, but it has become clear that without financial relief from available federal CARES Act dollars, many local venues will not reopen, ever.
The Charlotte community has been incredibly supportive of local venues during the shutdown — contributing to GoFundMes, buying merch, and more. Local artists have played countless benefit livestreams. Venue owners and staff are grateful and moved by the love. Unfortunately, without additional support from local and state governments, it simply will not be enough.
Independent music venues have lost nearly 100% of their revenue since the shutdown began on March 14. Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open. While restaurants can offer takeout and breweries have opened patios, music venues are stuck with locked doors, dark stages, and a mountain of bills for mortgages and rent, utilities, taxes, insurance, licensing and staff.
When Charlotte music venues can reopen their stages, they will do so safely for music fans, employees, musicians, and crew. But when might that happen? The time to save our local stages is now.
Members of CIVA as well as local promoters are a part of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), and have been working to garner support for the Save Our Stages Act and RESTART Act in Congress. Unfortunately, we can’t wait for Congress.
Charlotte, we’re asking for your help. On Monday, CIVA launched a petition for support. In 24 hours, 3,672 people signed. Please sign and share it. There are funds available at the local and state level from the federal CARES Act. These funds have to be used by the end of the year. This is no time for petty politics. Without support from Charlotte’s leaders, many of these community anchors WILL close for good, and we’ll all be left to wonder why we let it happen when the money was available.
The Evening Muse
Free Range Brewing
Middle C Jazz
Skylark Social Club
The Tipsy Burro
The Thirsty Beaver