Independent music venues were among the first businesses to close because of COVID-19, and they’ll probably be among the last to reopen. They can’t offer takeout or shift sales online. The smallest of them don’t have the business apparatus to navigate the inadequate federal aid that exists, and the most essential of them—the ones that nurture rising and marginalized voices—were financially delicate before the crisis. Without more help than they’re getting, many won’t make it.

From Cat’s Cradle and Lincoln Theatre to The Pinhook and NorthStar Church of the Arts, most small-to-midsize venues in the Triangle have joined hundreds of others across the country in the National Independent Venue Association, which is lobbying for federal funding to preserve the venue ecosystem. Its welfare effects not just musicians, employees, and fans, but also restaurants, bars, hotels, retail businesses—entire downtowns.

NIVA is making it easy for you to help its efforts in Washington with a form letter you can fill out and send to your senators and representatives in a matter of seconds. Asking them to sign on to letters of support for independent-venue relief in the House and the Senate, the letter states the stakes in stark terms: “If concerts don’t resume in 2020, 90% of independent venues across America will most likely not open again.”  

Sign the letter here and spread the word with the hashtag #SaveOurStages.

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at