Fewer Than .5% (one-half of one percent) of Illinois Independent Music Venues Received Have Relief Funds

Chicago Independent Venue League joins calls for SBA to immediately release Shuttered Venue Operators Grant funds


Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) joins Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), the League of Historic American Theatres, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), National Independent Talent Organization (NITO), Performing Arts Managers and Agents Coalition (PAMAC), and the Performing Arts Alliance call on the Small Business Administration (SBA) and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman to immediately fully fund all Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) eligible entities and to immediately resolve interagency issues that have proven a barrier to funding for SVOG applicants, which are suffering deeply.

More than $16 billion in relief was designated exclusively for independent music venues around the country when program was signed into law in December. Not a single dollar has been dispersed. As of June 10, 2021, or 453 days since live music, arts, culture, and entertainment venues shuttered due to COVID-19, less than Less Than .5% (one-half of one percent) of Illinois Independent Music Venues Received Have Relief Funds.  Only two of the 512 SVOG eligible organizations in Illinois have received funding.

“Chicago reopens on Friday June 11 and one of the city's greatest economic engines is still without the financial relief promised in December. Support without action is meaningless to an entire industry that ground to a halt. All eyes are on the Small Business Administration honor the commitments made to independent music venues around the country.”

-Katie Tuten
Chicago Independent Venue League co-chair and co-owner of The Hideout

The SVOG application process failed spectacularly. Applications were set to be accepted online starting April 8. The online portal crashed within hours without a single application being accepted. 15 days later, the submission portal reopened with more than 10,000 eligible entities around the country completing the process. 6 weeks later, Chicago's independent live music venues have no idea when the funds will be dispersed. 

"We expect the Small Business Administration to understand the most valuable outcome of small business: jobs. SVOG is a critical pandemic relief package that will enbale Chicago's independent live music venues to bring people back to work. The Small Business Administration is a major roadblock preventing independent live music venues from reclaiming the jobs our business sector lost during the pandemic."

- Joe Shanahan
Chicago Independent Venue League board member and founder of Metro/ smartbar / GMan

Illinois taxpayers showed their support of local business by funding the The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act - the $15 billion bipartisan relief bill from which the Shuttered Venue Operators Grants are funded with an additional $1.25 billion included in The American Rescue Plan Act. More than $16 billion in critically needed relief has been promised and has yet to be delivered.


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About CIVL | Chicago Independent Venue League

Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) advocates on behalf of Chicago’s independently owned and operated concert venues and music halls. Founded in 2018, CIVL works to ensure the long-term viability of its member venues so they may continue to provide event-goers with enjoyable live music experiences.

Chicago’s reputation as a world renowned live music hub is largely due to independently owned and operated music venues’ legacies of nurturing homegrown talent. Performers from every genre are afforded opportunities to earn national recognition. More than 50 CIVL member venues proudly represent Chicago’s culture and musical style.

CIVL is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit organization. Visit CIVLChicago.com for more information or to contribute.


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