Entertainment venues feeling the impact of COVID-19, financial relief could be on the way

Alex Gray of Waterfront Concerts says it's been tough not being able to offer live music to fans.
Waterfront Concerts
Waterfront Concerts(WABI)
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 9:25 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Live music and entertainment venues have taken a hard-hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Waterfront Concerts is one of many across Maine and the rest of the country feeling the effects.

However, some relief for this industry could be on the way.

“I’m glad we are as large as we are and that we were planning for a rainy day. I just don’t think anybody thought it was going to pour this long.”

Alex Gray, Waterfront Concerts

Waterfront concerts like many other music venues are doing their best to stay afloat during the pandemic.

Alex Gray of Waterfront Concerts says it's been tough not being able to offer live music to fans.

He's even had to let go of some of his staff, mostly from the marketing and financing departments.

Gray says these last few months have been difficult for the entire music industry, one that's not traditionally employed.

Everyone from promoters, to musicians, to road crews have been affected.

And the local economy is feeling the effects, too.

“In Bangor alone this is a $20 to $25 million crater of indirect spending that just isn’t in the economy this summer. Of course, it is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that restaurants and bars can only operate on small percentages so they’re already reeling, but there just isn’t that activity,” said Gray.

However, some relief could be on the way thanks to the Save Our Stages Act - legislation cosponsored by Senator Susan Collins.

The bill would provide assistance for independent live music venue operators affect by the pandemic.

Collins' statement
Collins' statement(WABI)

These grants, administered by the Small Business Administration, would provide six months of financial help to venues and pay employees.

90% of venue owners, promoters, and bookers across the country say that they are at risk of closing without any additional financial assistance.

“Any vehicle would be a good vehicle. Any help that we can get, whether it be on the state or local level,” Gray explained.

If ticket sales don't resume until next year, the industry could see an estimated $9 billion in losses.

Right now, Gray says he's looking towards the future, knowing that when they do reopen their doors, things could look different.

“I think we’ll be a part of the healing. Obviously when people get back to it and want to recreate, outdoor concerts especially in this period are going to be I think huge in getting back to some level of normal,” said Gray.

To get information on show status and refunds visit their website.

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