Struggling Concert Venues Still Waiting On Billions Of Dollars In Federal Aid

Struggling concert venues across the country still have not received the billions of dollars in federal aid that was part of the coronavirus relief package signed into law in December.

Video Transcript

- Struggling concert venues all across the country still have not yet received the billions of dollars in federal aid that was part of the coronavirus relief package that was signed into law back in December. Now, some venue owners say they can't hold on much longer. WJZ live at 5:30 tonight. Stetson Miller is going to tell us about the continued financial struggles for these venues. Stetson?

STETSON MILLER: Rick, concert venue owners thought this money would finally come through last week after months of waiting. It didn't. There was another delay, and all these delays have hit the concert industry very hard. It's been hit so hard by this pandemic.

The deafening silence at concert venues across the country has now been ongoing for over a year after they were forced to close when the coronavirus pandemic began, leading to financial devastation for the industry.

TECLA TESNAU: It has been harrowing to say the least.

STETSON MILLER: Many venues haven't had any revenue and can't turn a profit with reduced capacity restrictions in place in Maryland. They've been waiting on federal aid from the coronavirus relief package signed into law in December but still haven't received any of it, spelling a bleak future for many venues.

AUDREY FIX SCHAEFER: So many of them held on waiting for this federal relief. But several hundred have, unfortunately, had no choice but to shutter forever.

STETSON MILLER: The $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was supposed to be open to applicants last Thursday, but technical glitches closed the site and not a single application got through. And now, it's stalled indefinitely, putting venues in a very tough spot.

TECLA TESNAU: That's the reason why I put together a GoFundMe. There was absolutely no help coming in any sort of timely fashion.

STETSON MILLER: Ottobar owner Tecla Tesnau started the GoFundMe in the fall and raised over $145,000 to keep them from closing. She later received state and city aid. But she, like so many other venue owners, still need the federal aid while they try to wait out the pandemic.

TECLA TESNAU: It's a difficult situation to see something you've worked so hard for have the potential to close utterly.

STETSON MILLER: And the Small Business Administration is still working to determine an exact date for when they'll reopen that grant application. Now, Ottobar here is open right now, there just isn't any live music. They're hoping and planning to have their first show here in September. We're live in Remington. Stetson Miller for WJZ.