Non-profit foundation Live Music Society has announced the first recipients of the Music in Action grant program, which provides anywhere from $10,000-$50,000 to small venues. For 2023, 17 venues with a maximum capacity of 300 were provided with a total of $500,000 to develop and implement creative ideas to engage their communities, expand audiences, and generate new revenue sources. This year’s recipients include The Rebel Lounge in Arizona, Sunset Tavern in Washington, Happy Dog in Ohio, Café Coda in Wisconsin and more.

Since the start of the global pandemic in 2020, Live Music Society has provided $3 million in grants to small music venues. The first three rounds of funding were aimed at providing pandemic relief, but the new grant program, Music in Action, is pivoting to help venues succeed and not just survive.

Live Music Society founder Pete Muller — who is also a touring musician — tells Billboard that the foundation understands that the economics for these small venues are difficult and the profit margins can be razor thin, even in non-pandemic years. Small venue owners, he believes, know their community and know the best ways to engage locals and bring people back to their rooms. This year’s ideas included The Stone Church in Vermont continuing their GRRLS 2 The Front program which dedicates the month of March to women and nonbinary-led groups and offers a stage management/sound engineering course. The Elastic Arts Foundation in Illinois will revive their Dark Matter performance series and enhance the AfroFuturist Weekend festival showcasing emerging and established Black artists across different neighborhoods of Chicago’s South and West Sides. Cafe CODA in Wisconsin will expand their COOL SCHOOL program, providing free music education activities and introducing a mobile stage for increased accessibility.

“We’re saying, ‘give us your idea and we will mitigate that risk by giving you money to do it,’ That’s what the grant is,” says Muller. “Hopefully that allows them to do something that’s inspiring and helps the club, but also inspires other places…. It’s seed money. Our return is not cash, it’s creating energy in this ecosystem.”

Funds for the grants come from Muller and other supporters. Live Music Society’s board selected the 17 venues and their programs out of more than 100 applications this year, focusing on ideas that champion historically marginalized groups such as BIPOC, Latinx, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities.

Music in Action is about trusting that music venue owners know what they need to flourish, says Live Music Society executive director Cat Henry, adding “asking [venue owners] was important, not telling them.”

“One of the biggest things we’ve heard from venue owners is that this is unique. There’s not really a lot of funding opportunities, especially for for-profit [businesses],” says Henry. “It changes the way they think about things knowing that somebody cares about this, that there’s an advocate out there that is looking out for the sector as a whole.”

Live Music Society has also teamed up with trade association National Independent Venue Association for the second annual National Independent Venue Association conference set to take place in July in Washington, D.C. Live Music Society will do an introduction to their grantees at the NIVA ‘23 Independent Awards Gala, a panel discussion with key stakeholders from the small venue community and sponsorship of a Salute to Small Venues concert at Pie Shop. Additionally, they will provide a networking space called the Live Music Society Cantina, located across from The Anthem, the main venue hosting conference programming.

Check out a full list of 2023 Music in Action grantees below.

The 2023 Music In Action Grant Recipients:

Big Room Bar, Columbus, OH

Cafe Coda, Madison, WI

Caffé Lena, Saratoga Springs, NY

Chocolate Church Arts Center, Bath, ME

Club Passim, Cambridge, MA

Dazzle, Denver, CO

Drom, New York, NY

Elastic Arts Foundation, Chicago, IL

Happy Dog, Cleveland, OH

Hey Nonny, Arlington Heights, IL

Ivy Room, Albany, CA

Stone Church, Brattleboro, VT

Sunset Tavern, Seattle, WA

TAC Temescal Art Center, Oakland, CA

The Muse Performance Space, Lafayette, CO

The Parlour, Providence, RI

The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, AZ

Source link

Write A Comment