Big-name performers including Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus, Dave Matthews and Jason Mraz are lining up to help independent music venues by performing during a three-day virtual music festival this weekend.
The Save Our Stages Fest — or SOS Fest for short — runs Friday through Sunday, featuring fresh performances from more than 30 musical acts. The event, organized by the National Independent Venue Association, will be streamed on YouTube, originating from some of the 3,000 clubs affiliated with NIVA across the US. Shows are free to view, but donations are being requested from viewers and merchandise is available for purchase.
The coronavirus pandemic has crippled operators of venues nationwide, leaving them shuttered more than six months now. And there’s no firm answer on when they could reopen. With little or no money coming in and bills piling up, many have laid off staff or been forced to close permanently.
A recent NIVA survey found that 90% of independent venues say they will have to close for good in the coming weeks or months if shutdowns persist.
Jason Mraz tells USA TODAY independent venues are important not only because they help local economies but because they give up-and-coming performers a place to make a name for themselves.
“My career started out as a starving artist,” he says. “There’s so much that happens nightly in venues across the country.”