Business owners, music lovers across the state band together to save local music venues
SEATTLE, Wash. — Washington music lovers, curators and business owners are banding together to save local music venues with ‘Keep Music Live,’ a relief fund that aims to ease the financial burden of venues forced to close statewide.
Organizers say that the state’s music venues were the first businesses to close during the pandemic, and will likely be the last to reopen — and many locally-owned venues are struggling to stay afloat.
Business owners and leaders from across the state have come together to save the venues, including Seattle hip-hop icon Sir Mix-A-Lot, Starbucks’ Music and Arts partnership, Vitalogy Foundation, Bellingham’s Wild Buffalo House of Music, and Spokane-based arts nonprofit Terrain.
According to organizers, music and performances contribute $2.42 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs more than 38,000 people. A survey of 51 venues early into the pandemic showed that, in King County alone, more than 2,000 events were canceled, 650 staff were laid off and 17,000 musicians’ paid gigs were canceled.
“Our venue is only viable if other venues in the region survive, so bands can have fully re-established tour potential. So, all of us coming together is so vital right now,” said Lucky You Lounge owner, Kari Ingersoll.
A report from the Washington Nightlife and Music Association revealed that 63-percent of venues will close their doors for good by February without support — another 20-percent say they can last until mid-2021.