Long Island Musicians Urge Feds To OK Aid For Show Biz

Fletcher performs at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh for BLI Summer Jam 2019 on June 14, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Kane)

Long Island music venues need federal assistance to survive the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on business and without help they may be forced to close, lawmakers, proprietors, and musicians say.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) proposed the $10 billion Save Our Stages Act to help keep the entertainment industry going amid the economic crisis.

”These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to reopen,” Schumer said.

The proposal comes shortly after Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville closed its doors, citing the pandemic’s impact on business. 

Mine DelGuidice, lead singer of the Billy Joel cover band Big Shot, who also performs with The Piano Man, reportedly held a protest concert Sunday in Huntington to raise awareness to how COVID-19 is hurting musicians and entertainment venues.

DelGuidice joined Schumer, classic rockers Blue Oyster Cult, hometown emo heroes Taking Back Sunday, and other local musicians during a news conference outside Mulcahey’s Pub and Concert Hall in Wantagh to urge Congress to pass the bill.

The the legislation would create a Small Business Administration program to provide grants of up to $12 million to eligible live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to help cover six months of operating expenses and offset the economic impact of COVID-19.

Without the new infusion of funding, the senator explained, up to 90 percent of independently owned performance venues might wind up closing. Their closures would result in thousands of job losses, including behind-the-scenes workers, waiters and bartenders, and artists who will find themselves with fewer places to ply their craft.

The impact on the economy would be even worse, the senator explained, as the closure of venues could cost the country up to $9 billion in ticket sales alone. Other sectors would also suffer including hotels, restaurants, transportation and retail shops.

The Save Our Stages Act has 28 bipartisan co-sponsors on Capitol Hill and the support of artists across the country including Jerry Seinfeld, the Foo Fighters, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Jimmy Buffett, Coldplay, and Jay Leno.

The bill, Schumer noted, would be folded into a larger economic relief bill that the House and Senate Democrats hope to pass soon.

-With amNY Metro

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