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The Fight To Save Chicago’s Independent Music Venues Continues With SituationChicago

The last time I stepped foot into a venue to see a live show was on February 26th at the Bottom Lounge. The show was for 070 Shake: an up and coming pop/hip-hop artist who made a name for herself after producing music with Kanye West. Her debut performance in Chicago was for a sold-out audience of about 700 people.

I’m missing live music more than anything, but these venues are hurting a lot more than my inability to attend shows at said venues. After all, we are in the eighth month of a worldwide pandemic, and though things have gone only slightly back to normal for restaurants and bars, Chicago’s music venues are still hurting as much as they were during month one. Like we’ve reported before, there are bills being introduced to potentially give funds to said venues to help sustain their staff with hopes to make it to the point of safely reopening when allowed. The “Save Our Stages” bill would “ensure that relief funds only go to small, independent venue operators, promoters and talent reps…those that receive grants would be able to use the money to cover costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as pay for rent, utilities, mortgages, personal protective equipment, maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, and expenses that would allow venues to meet local and federal social distancing guidelines.”

As recent as the end of September, a new bill introduced in the House called the “Heroes Act” has been updated with provisions from the Save Our Stages act. If passed, it will grant up to $10 billion in grants for these independent venues as well as producers, promotors, and talent representatives.

While it’s obvious that these venues are hurting, other corners of Chicago’s bustling music scene are also fighting to survive. Brittany reported for Chicago Haze back in August that a slew of Chicago’s record stores are having to develop creative ways to sell inventory, including home delivery options during the early months of the pandemic.

A Chicago-based nonprofit called Quiet Pterodactyl is also getting in on the action, organizing a record project called situationchicago that consists of 25 bands and artists that have come together to support 25 of Chicago’s live music venues.

The LP was pressed locally at Smashed Plastic, supported by local sponsors. Not only is the record a completely made Chicago project, but its upfront costs were also covered, which allows for 100% of record sales to be split between the venues to help them survive. It’s available for download and vinyl pre-purchase here.

Quiet Pterodactyl, founded by Trey Elder, hopes to deliver access to master classes kids throughout the city. It goes without saying that the pandemic thwarted many of his plans for the year, which led him to pivot and brainstorm how to use his nonprofit to help these venues that are so near and dear to the community.

“The independent venues are really where the artists learn their craft. Without it, the future of the whole industry and just the music in general and people’s access to music in general is going to change. It’s kind of like having its legs hacked off in one fell swoop,” said Elder in a Chicago Tribune article.

“It’s not just about saving these venues. It’s about bringing attention to the future of the amazing thing that is music in our lives.”

Purchasing this LP will benefit the following venues:

Beat Kitchen
Cafe Mustache
Cole’s
Dorian’s Through the Record Shop
Emporium Arcade Bar
Empty Bottle
Fulton Street Collective
GMan Tavern
The Hideout
Liar’s Club
Lincoln Hall 
Martyrs’
The Metro
Moe’s Tavern
The Promontory 
Reggie’s Rock Club
Schubas Tavern
Silver Room
Sleeping Village
Smartbar
Subterranean
Thalia Hall
Tonic Room 
Uncommon Ground
The Whistler

Check out NIVA for more ways to help.

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