Last weekend, Save Our Stages Fest brought together over 35 nationally-renowned artists from 25 venues across the country. The musicians’ urgent pleas—alongside those of the festival’s organizer, the National Independent Venue Association—were heard loud and clear by audiences, who stepped up to donate over $1.8 million (and counting) to the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund.

The three-day virtual festival saw performances from Foo FightersDave MatthewsThe RootsMiley CyrusBrittany HowardPhoebe BridgersThe LumineersNathaniel RateliffPortugal. The Man, The Revivalists, and many more. These artists appeared at such legendary venues as the  9:30 Club, Appolo TheaterBelly Up TavernBoulder TheaterExit / In, The IndependentPreservation HallRyman AuditoriumTipitina’sTroubadourWhisky A Go GoWorld Cafe Live, and more from across the country.

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The Save Our Stages Fest funds raised thus far are inclusive of donations made through YouTube Giving’s Donate button, the Save Our Stages website, text to donate (SOSFEST to 44321, which is still active), and merch sales. This came as NIVA’s latest effort to sound the alarm across the country about the dire financial need that independent venues are still suffering from. Since introduced in the Senate back in July, NIVA has campaigned for the passage of the Save Our Stages Act as 90% of venue owners surveyed by the non-profit say that they will be forced to close permanently without immediate government assistance.

Videos from Save Our Stages Fest are still available on artists’ YouTube pages, and the donation buttons are still active. Beginning on Saturday, NIVA will kick off Independent Venue Week with a memorabilia auction to benefit the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund. From October 24th—30th, Independent Venue Week will spotlight programming from some of the country’s most treasured music establishments, as well as panel discussions of pressing issues facing the industry. For more information, head to the event’ website.

Earlier this month, NIVA won a major victory as the House of Representatives passed the $2.2 trillion Heroes act which was recently amended to include the Save Our Stages Act. The SOS Act offers over $10 billion in much-needed funding for independent venues in the form of loans and non-repayable grants to keep up with payroll and other operating costs. Unfortunately, the Heroes Act still needs approval from the Senate, and President Donald Trump has stated that he will not approve any further COVID-19 stimulus packages until after the November election.