Rumor Has It
A New Hope
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
So, after a week that felt like a month and aged us all a decade, we have a new president-elect (and a new vice president-elect—get it, Kamala!).
I’m not here to write yet another election postmortem (I don’t want to jinx the thing) or offer words of unity (I have little faith and even less interest in that). Instead I’ve got something else on my mind.
A new hope—it ain’t just for Star Wars anymore.
With the incoming administration comes hope for all kinds of things: national pandemic policy, rollback of environmental rollbacks, a leader who you can reasonably expect won’t say, “I know you are but what am I?” at a press conference—in other words, a return to some recognizable form of sanity.
What also comes with a new administration is revived hope for federal financial aid for the businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 shutdowns, and as I might’ve mentioned a time or 20, music venues are near the top of that list.
Yes, this means I’m going to ask you to contact elected officials. Again. But not just yet.
Instead, I’m going to remind you about Keep Music Live, the organization operating in partnership with the Whatcom Community Foundation to raise $10 million in grant money for Washington’s music venues. Federal aid is the dream, but the reality is venues are going to need assistance from more than just the feds.
When I asked Wild Buffalo owner Craig Jewell to talk to me about the state of his venue for this week’s music story, I did so as a means of also talking about Keep Music Live, where Craig is a board member. It is, after all, the thing that consumes his time.
But rather than talking about the hard spot he finds himself in, he wanted to focus on his history with the venue and how much he loves it there—and I get it. He’s a pretty sunny guy and talking about the potential loss of the thing he holds most dear doesn’t come as naturally to him as focusing on better days.
However, I’m not him, so I’m just going to say it plain: Every single independent music venue in town that has not gone out of business is operating in a state of accumulating debt and by the grace of their landlords and the governor’s eviction moratorium. What reserve cash they had on hand is gone. We will no doubt lose some of them. Without help, we could lose all of them. Period. Full stop.
I don’t know anyone who is swimming in money right now. Most of us are living on incomes that have been negatively impacted by COVID shutdowns—myself included. Any ask is a big ask. But if enough of us give a little, we could accomplish something really big. Find out more at http://www.keepmusiclivewa.com.