A handful of venues have been able to meet the guidelines on Metro’s roadmap to reopening, and have hosted shows for a very limited-capacity in-person crowd. She was part of a group that bought the shuttered, "That's my life down there," she said. City Winery opened in 2014 in a former warehouse near Third Man Records and the Nashville Rescue Mission It’s one of eight City Wineries around the U.S., each of which features a restaurant space as well as one or more venue spaces. They haven’t yet been able to reopen. There’s still a real danger that some venues will not reopen. Cobb has been using his experience in organizing: He’s a charter member of a trade group called the National Independent Venue Association, launched in April. The wheels are already turning at the federal level. There’s also a provision to pay people who work for venues on a freelance basis — from bartenders to sound crew to the folks who work the door, they make up a substantial portion of the live-entertainment economy. "My situation is one that I'm so grateful for,". And owners fear for the future of their businesses and of a musical way of life. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - There is some positive news in the state's response to COVID-19. If anybody can bounce back from this thing, Nashville can," Posey said. At the beginning of 2020, the concert business was booming, and Nashville was experiencing a strong uptick in activity at the club level. "I'm super concerned about my well-being. Venues, badly damaged if not destroyed, canceled and postponed shows. The next day, seeing the rising tide of COVID-related cancellations, Sherwood and Collinsworth made the call to close until further notice. Paths are marked throughout the building to keep traffic flowing freely. COVID-19: 'The Bitter End' for nation's live music venues? Exit/In hasn’t hosted a show since March 15, and financial reserves are getting thin. "It would seem like an easy decision to cancel a show, but when canceling a show means forfeiting your income, it's a more difficult situation.". Here, we examine the bleak outlook for the music industry amidst the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that has decimated financial markets. "Nobody's at an office anywhere right now," she said. One bright spot is that Verheide is their landlord, and he made a public pledge to waive rent until the venue could get back in business, a very rare circumstance in commercial real estate. (CNN)Nashvillians still remember how that music used to make them smile. News 2 reported a month ago, Tennessee ranked the No. So far, there are 62,133 negative test results. It has her worried, as does the drop in demand for temp receptionists, another way she pays bills. It allows artists to create their art, and it gives musicians a chance to get together and play. Chris Cobb started booking shows at Exit/In in the Aughts, and he became the sole owner of the venue last fall after an amicable split with business partner Josh Billue (with whom he co-founded 1,800-capacity venue Marathon Music Works). In addition to booking the shows and ensuring they run smoothly, Simon is out on the floor busing tables. Even with the extra dough, she has worries. “The economy of scale just isn’t what it used to be,” he says. “I can’t just not do that. The Nashville location is one of two City Wineries that’s been able to cautiously make a return to live music since the pandemic began. "It makes me sad. It does not help either the self-employed workers these businesses have been unable to hire as they normally would, or the full-time staff they’ve had to lay off. Playing at church gatherings, weddings and funerals can also be lucrative, he said, but those are canceled as well. Staff members wear masks; guests are expected to do the same, and few have complained. But there’s a lot of competition out there for the little rectangles that people are looking at. For artists, industry professionals and anxious music fans, the concert business, like live sports, was among the first to be affected by COVID-19 and will be among the last to recover. The New Orleans funk band Galactic bought the decades-old music club Tipitina's late in 2018 and appeared to be making a success of the venerable live music venue. The main obstacle is a very New Nashville problem that, ironically, feels almost quaint during the pandemic. It doesn't help that she can't find hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. The two had planned to marry Sunday. Danny Parks, John McTigue III and Rachael Hester perform at Robert's Western World. While the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has been swift, learning how to live and work with the coronavirus will take time and effort as a community. Nashville’s ecosystem of independent clubs has nurtured heaps of rock bands with global fan bases, played an important role in the rise of Americana as a force to be reckoned with, and hosted an array of pop musicians, rappers and others as they’ve worked to get established in our city. The Crew Nation Fund supports live music crews that have been impacted by COVID-19 through loss of shows. For Nashville, Music City is more than a catchy moniker. It gives a few people an opportunity to make pennies to the dollar of what they used to make — to do not only the same work, but probably harder work. They set up a crowdfunding campaign with the goal of paying staff, bands on the calendar whose shows were canceled and some of their own bills, at least for a month. A full house of 100 guests came to the debut show in the Wine Garden with blues ace Keb’ Mo’. The current conditions are a vast improvement over the venue’s lowest point during the pandemic, when all but five salaried employees were furloughed, but it’s still a skeleton crew. As you might predict in a music town starved for concerts, demand has been strong, and events with much-loved songsmiths John Hiatt and Hayes Carll sold out quickly. There isn’t money specifically for performers, but many musicians also work at venues. With these precautions in place, 100 people — 25 percent of the main room’s capacity — can come see a show. After working with them for two weeks on a PPP application, he was approved. “It connects artists with fans. They might be hoping for a benevolent investor like Sir Elton John, who recently told BBC Radio 6 Music that he has “a few irons in the fire” with regard to saving The Troubadour, the Los Angeles club where he made his U.S. debut in 1970. Cobb is already very experienced with organizing support on behalf of the longstanding 500-capacity room on Elliston Place. Other venues are getting creative to keep Nashville's spirit alive. Following the coronavirus closures, Holmes has had a half dozen shows nixed this month, including her 40th birthday gig at Rudy's Jazz Room, which was expected to draw a crowd. Legislation that could help venues has been introduced in Congress, and on Sept. 1, the Metro Council passed a resolution offering grants, allocated from federal CARES Act funding, meant to help independent venues pay bills for two months, delaying the worst outcome. As of October 1, 2020, Nashville is in “Phase 3.” Phase 3 was extended on November 2, 2020. Jones and Cousins of Robert's Western World are doing what they can to stave off that same sense of doom among employees and musicians, who they consider family. SOS hasn’t gained any support from Tennessee’s congressional representatives yet, but Sens. Miraculously, the building was spared from the March 3 tornado that did extensive damage to dozens of nearby homes and businesses, including 3 Crow Bar and venue The Basement East. Venues, though, have had precious few ways to generate revenue beyond selling T-shirts and masks and launching crowdfunding campaigns. As the bands play, viewers share photos as they dance in their living rooms, with the bar's staples -- cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and fried bologna sandwiches -- in hand, she said. Musicians saw their livelihoods disrupted. Updated 1944 GMT (0344 HKT) March 22, 2020. Definitely harder work mentally and emotionally. The New Orleans funk band Galactic bought the decades-old music club Tipitina's late … Live music is a mainstay at countless bars and restaurants, and even the mall and airport, but that doesn't mean every picker and grinner can make a living. None, however, are giving up without a fight. As of Thursday, Nashville reported a weekly positivity rate of 9.8% and about 58 infections per day for every 100,000 residents, according to virus data published by the city government. In the meantime, independent venues are looking for any viable revenue source. Phase 4 will not begin for at least 28 days after Phase 3 if conditions improve. Tables are now spaced eight to 10 feet apart, and wine barrels are used to mark off guest areas. “But it feels good. Music performance industry still shuttered as city opens Covid recovery phase 3.3 Monday evening headlines - 11/9/20 By Amanda Roberts | November 9, 2020 at 8:39 PM CST - Updated November 9 at 9:30 PM You can now make face mask coverings from your home. There are so many people so affected by the circumstance, and CARES was not set up to help us all through much more than a few months of the pandemic.”. That means additional competition to cope with, but it’s also a badge of honor. ", Coronavirus precautions have canceled Posey's shows from Nashville to New Mexico. Exit/In is at the center of the group Save the Rock Block, which organized a successful grassroots campaign in 2019 against a rezoning ordinance that Cobb and his neighbors — whose strip of Elliston is known as the Rock Block for its long tradition of hosting shows — saw as detrimental to their businesses. ... there is no clear end in sight to the pandemic closures. Holmes is one of many musicians who rely on church gigs, she said. Running a small or midsize venue has always been a difficult business, with high overhead costs and margins that depend on crowds consistently coming through the doors. The city of Nashville is following a four-phase plan. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) UPDATE (6-9-20) There are 1,505 active COVID-19 cases in the county. "They don't sit idly by and watch people suffer. Experience Nashville at Home As of late August, the September calendar was nearly booked, but the number of people that the current iteration of The 5 Spot can pay is small. Talking with Exit/In’s Chris Cobb, The 5 Spot’s Todd Sherwood and City Winery’s Mike Simon about navigating a global pandemic. To match the revenue that comes from a full year’s concert calendar, he’d have to produce 2,000 streams in a year — an impossible five to seven every day. Over the summer, Sherwood and Collinsworth have transitioned to a model that’s more like a soundstage. A staffer checks guests’ temperatures at City Winery, That means additional competition to cope with, including Nashville’s Douglas Corner Cafe, contributor Marissa R. Moss reported via NPR, at the top of Historic Nashville Inc.’s 2019 Nashville Nine list of endangered historic properties, which was unveiled outside Exit/In on Aug. 12, the National Independent Venue Association, an imperfect solution to an unprecedented problem, Billy Strings’ wildly popular Streaming Strings Tour in July, and it’s been a huge help to the club this year. It will not, however, be easy. He'd planned to travel to Fort Worth, Texas, next month to perform with Lonnie Spiker at the. Recipients would be able to cover things like rent and utilities, as well as costs of personal protective equipment and other expenditures to comply with local health guidelines once they are able to reopen. Nonetheless, it’s a welcome bit of relief. Among the lucky is Mike Hicks. Jay Patrick Marlar and Lauren Fitts perform for a small crowd at Rippy's Honky Tonk. If we’re still in the same place and still trying to do the same type of stuff, let’s say, in March, probably not. The process has become streamlined — audio and video are consistently high-quality, and the talent is first-rate. He then did extensive research to learn how the loan could be forgiven, but ultimately determined there was no way he could meet the requirements. A multi-genre musician who also plays piano, guitar and mandolin, he was the AWA's 2018 instrumentalist of the year. But that hasn’t stopped local musicians, promoters, talent buyers, venue owners and staff — as well as audiences, including heaps of new Nashvillians who’ve arrived since 2008 or so — from building on the foundation of an incredibly dynamic club scene. And owners fear for the future of their businesses and of a musical way of life. He typically does three or four studio sessions a week and plays at least four live shows a month. "I have never, ever imagined that such a thing would be possible. – Senior Reporter, Nashville Business Journal May 21, 2020, 12:47pm EDT As of Memorial Day, Mayor John Cooper will further relax restrictions he put in place to stem the spread of … "I'm not letting this cloud of darkness take away the symbolism of what was planned," Jones said. “The business is basically OK, but I feel morally obligated to be able to pay the rent and the bills, and some staff members and myself,” says Sherwood. COVID-19: 'The Bitter End' for Nation's Live Music Venues? “We were hearing that from people who watched it from home, saying, ‘That was the best livestream I’ve seen this entire quarantine experience.’ And part of it has to be because Molly was feeding off of the crowd. I don't know.". He's spent his life defying expectations. Renowned fiddler Hyram Posey has seen gigs canceled across the country. Before Lethgo learned she'd be receiving $1,000 from Alan Jackson, she wondered how she was going to pay rent. The Nashville Musicians AFM Local 257 has set up a relief fund for musicians in Nashville who have been impacted by COVID-19. Also a quick sell-out: an Aug. 22 set from bluegrass guitar master and rising singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle, the first show with an audience to be streamed live from City Winery via its new partnership with streaming startup Mandolin. "It's a devastating, helpless feeling, and trying to find the hope -- trying to find the lighthouse in the storm -- it's hard to keep up," Cousins said. Watch Live Video. Holmes had shows canceled after the tornado, which spared the road where she lives but wrecked houses two streets over. He hopes to scale up and run more than one stream per day. Employees sit in the back of the closed Mellow Mushroom on Broadway. The Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program — an imperfect solution to an unprecedented problem — has benefited a lot of businesses. Bars and restaurants on Broadway were ordered to close their doors last week. ", a deadly tornado ripped through parts of the city, they're navigating the coronavirus together, the 37-year-old keyboardist and songwriter. Nashville residents ages 75 and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. In Nashville, live music has played a more complicated role in pandemic life. "I was going to eat off of that for a while," she said. The international network of venues that our city’s clubs are part of employs thousands of people and allows local scenes to grow and evolve across an array of genres and traditions. While they’re in this rough spot, there’s little for the folks who run Nashville’s independent music venues to do that they aren’t already doing. Streaming works for some venues: Bluegrass mecca the Station Inn established its Station Inn TV platform in 2019, and it’s been a huge help to the club this year. The same is true of another piece of legislation that NIVA endorses: the RESTART Act, a broader relief bill in the U.S. Senate that would expand and modify the PPP to make it work better for businesses like venues. “What all the music venues in Nashville need to do is find a way that we can service the city itself and help change the view of Nashville from downtown drunken idiots in a pandemic to real live music,” Sherwood says. Most of the shows have been free streams on Facebook with a virtual tip jar for the artists, but the next step is to experiment with ticketed shows via the StageIt platform. “We love it because it uses the stage,” Cobb says of streaming. “It’s two months — we asked for six, and we need, probably, 12,” Cobb says. “I think all parts of the music industry are realizing that venues need to all work together to make sure that we’re all doing this the right way,” says Simon. There are even some who think it might come back stronger. We plan to proceed carefully to ensure we do not create a surge in COVID-19 cases that … Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander have signed on to co-sponsor RESTART, while Reps. Jim Cooper, Steve Cohen and David Kustoff have co-sponsored a corresponding bill in the House. Music clubs all over the nation — pop culture icons like the Troubadour in West Hollywood, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, The Bitter End in New York's Greenwich Village — are shuttered due to the coronavirus. So we’re about to learn in September if it is possible to even make a living at all doing this.”. With the addition of heat lamps, Simon expects the Wine Garden to remain in operation until December. Bert Kencke, 73, of Nashville, heads to Broadway wearing a gas mask Wednesday. It’s been ebbing and flowing here since Exit/In opened in 1971, and now big players like Beverly Hills-based ticketing and touring giant Live Nation want to tap into that market. Our lives depend on being around a bunch of people, being at a bar, being at a venue, being in close quarters," she said. "The city is called Music City, and we kind of make the city, but nobody seems to care about the situation we're in.". 68,704 people have been tested for coronavirus in Davidson County. ... COVID-19 Information; Downtown Dollars e-Gift Card Program; 2020 Annual Meeting & Awards Luncheon; Destinations. "We're all in a really terrible situation, and we don't know how long it's going to last.". “What I learned over the course of 10 days was that it was going to be better for not only most of them,” Cobb says, “but also for the hope that Exit/In wouldn’t have to permanently close … to lay all of them off.”. It's not just impacting the country music for which the city is so well known, "We're all in the same situation. Sherwood would be grateful to see some federal assistance, but he isn’t betting on it anytime soon. “Phase one was ‘Build it,’ and phase two was ‘Get it going well.’ And now I’m in phase three, which is ‘Try to find out if people will pay five bucks to watch something on their phone or computer.’ If they do, we can have a broader reach. But Cobb has done the math, and the money brought in from streams like recent ones by Lilly Hiatt and Moon Taxi isn’t sufficient for Exit/In. (The bill also shares its name with NIVA’s call to action, featuring a form email that makes it easy for music fans to contact their representatives in Congress.) This sort of perseverance is what makes Nashville one of the most exciting cities in the world, said Posey, the fiddle player. They just don’t have the space to be able to do outdoor, fresh-air programming. In March, the COVID-19 pandemic began to creep across the U.S. As public spaces closed in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the live-music economy — from dive bars to major festivals — ground to a halt, putting musicians, audio and lighting techs, stagehands, bar staff and most other people who make live music possible out of work. It's everybody's bread and butter," said. With the bar closed, they're bringing in employees to do the deep cleaning they don't typically have time to do when Robert's is packed morning to night. The two months’ worth of funds offered by the council doesn’t come close to getting the venues all the way through the pandemic. In a city like Nashville, the lack of live music has been especially devastating. I may have to come home. 1 worst state for new COVID … For Mike Simon, a longtime City Winery staffer who took the reins as programming manager for Nashville in 2017, attention to detail in making the room a safe place to be is absolutely critical. Covid means Nashville’s music industry faces an uncertain future. “Because all it really takes is one venue doing it poorly, and it could ruin it for everyone else.”. Safe live music performances possible during COVID-19. You could hear people saying things to her, thanking her for playing tonight, and she didn’t want to get off the stage.”. Then came the … In addition to the 47 self-employed workers he’d already cut loose, he let go of seven full-time staffers. To see the recommendations, materials, tutorials and step by step videos click HERE. Exit/In’s own house video rig is almost dialed-in, and they’ll produce more streams coming up. Nashville will recover, he said. They’re seeking out new sources of revenue and lobbying for federal financial aid. The 5 Spot was without power for a week, but reopened March 11 with a benefit show for Gideon’s Army’s tornado relief efforts in North Nashville. … Some of our locations are closed, and their local legislation is not giving any kind of room to be able to operate. While assistance from fans has been both heartwarming and financially significant, it can’t create the kind of sustained income that independent venues need to survive. NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — City leaders have eased COVID-19 restrictions in Nashville and Davidson County, allowing more people to gather in … A resident of metro Nashville since 2000, he's had huge gigs, once appearing on a bill with Reba McEntire and Little Big Town. "Any- and everything that's been on the calendar is at the very least on hold right now," he said. The Community Assessment System Hotline is 615-862-7777 for Nashville residents who have questions about COVID-19 or believe they need to be assessed and referred to a Community Assessment Center. Some gigs were rescheduled to this week -- but then came Mayor John Cooper's, "Everything just came to a standstill," Posey said. We feel lucky in Nashville that we have this beautiful, huge parking lot, which is now completely tented with the Wine Garden. At 22, he left Sao Paulo with nothing, learned English listening to Marty Robbins and "Sesame Street," moved to Nashville to join the "hillbilly heaven" scene in 1994 and five years later bought one of the city's most famous honky tonks. Appointments are available on Saturdays and Sundays beginning this Saturday, Jan. 9. Metro Public Health strongly recommends that ALL individuals wear face coverings when in public and when patronizing businesses. Residents are required to make an appointment to receive the vaccine. Construction on the proposed hotel project may continue anyway, but the area was recognized at the top of Historic Nashville Inc.’s 2019 Nashville Nine list of endangered historic properties. Downtown's silent, barren streets give bartender Carolyn Lethgo an "eerie feeling," said the lifelong resident who has been working in the service industry since she was 15. It’s a whole hell of a lot better than nothing, and we could have very easily got nothing. "Hopefully, the storm will pass fast. ... Nashville, TN 37219. There are safeguards to prevent large corporate entities from taking advantage of the program, and there’s an opportunity to apply for supplemental grants if conditions force venues to remain closed. Though fortunate, Hicks has seen his gigs vanish all the same. “If we don’t get a significant amount of help … it’s going to be mass extinction.”. “There’s been the whole ‘phases of reopening’ for Nashville, and I had my own phases of doing this,” Sherwood says. They have also set up a resource page on their website with various other informational resources. NASHVILLE (KMOV.com) - Typically, the fan experience for the Music City Bowl in Nashville highlights what the city is best known for, a fun atmosphere and plenty of live music. He'd already taken on the loan, and unless Congress changes the rules for PPP, about 60 percent of it will become a debt. 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