Artists including Marshmello, Demi Lovato, YG, The Foo Fighters, Reba McEntire, and The Roots are set to livestream performances as part of this weekend’s Save Our Stages Festival (#SOSFEST), which will raise money for the National Independent Venue Association’s emergency-relief fund.
Hosted by comedian and musician Reggie Watts and sponsored by Bud Light Seltzer, the three-day fundraising event is scheduled to kick off this afternoon, with a set from “Let Me Down Slowly” artist Alec Benjamin. Notably, the 34 shows delivered for NIVA and YouTube Music’s Save Our Stages Festival will be livestreamed from indie music venues across the country. L.A.’s Hotel Café and Teragram Ballroom, as well as Seattle’s Neumos (with a gig from “The Emerald City” local Macklemore) are among the venues that will be showcased today.
#SOSFEST day two will bring with it 16 additional livestream concerts, including a four o’clock (PST) Jason Mraz show to start. Rise Against, Miley Cyrus, Portugal. The Man, The Roots, and Major Lazer are also featured in this second day’s lineup, and indie venues like Gramps (Miami), Troubadour (West Hollywood), and (Le) Poisson Rouge (New York City) will be on display.
The country music-focused third and final day of the Save Our Stages Festival will initiate with a performance from the four-time Grammy-winning Little Big Town act. Dave Matthews, “The Queen of Country” Reba McEntire, and Brothers Osborne are also slated to participate in the charity function. The Colorado-based Lumineers will close the evening and #SOSFEST by playing from the 114-year-old Boulder Theater.
NIVA is still accepting applications from indie venue owners who require fiscal assistance to keep their businesses’ doors open, and the cutoff for requests will arrive on Sunday, at 11:59 PM in the east and 8:59 PM in the west. International non-profit organization (NPO) The Giving Back Fund is overseeing the application process and handling the distribution of raised capital.
Owing to the large-gathering bans and social-distancing requirements that remain in effect across most of the U.S. and the world, indie venues are having a decidedly difficult time generating revenue and staying afloat.
To be sure, the Music Venue Trust said in August, when the UK government allowed socially distant concerts to resume, “that the vast majority of grassroots music venues are not financially able, or even have the physical premises layout, to deliver these newly permitted events.” Separately, Van Morrison took aim at live-event restrictions by releasing three protest songs and donating their profits to struggling musicians.
And earlier this month, Universal Music, Live Nation, AEG Presents, the RIAA, and others banded together to demand that the federal government provide financial aid to the live event sector.