BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard. So hard, that theaters and promoters across the country are lobbying congress for extra help.
We heard last month about the Fox Theater’s marquee inspired program, where you can pay $200 to write a message on their iconic marquee. But Fox officials say even with that, their financial situation could get rough come Fall.
“Until we are enabled to host concerts the way that we normally do, our board will have to make some tough decisions," said Matthew Spindler, the theater's manager.
Those decisions could include laying people off. The theater has received Paycheck Protection Program loans and is being helped by their Marquee Inspired Program, but still, Spindler thinks around September, their financial situation could become dire. The theater is burning through cash set aside for a rainy day, and this rainy is lasting a lot longer than they could have planned for, he says.
“When we do get the green light it could be 6 months to a year before a venue like mine starts to see the revenue we need come back in," Spindler said.
And Spindler says his theater’s closure has a much wider impact too.
“When a venue like us has a concert you have our downtown and immediately around our area hopping," he said.
And it’s a similar story for independent theaters and promoters all across the U.S. That’s why the Fox has joined the National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA, a group of over 1,000 venues joining together to ask congressional leaders for aid. In a letter addressed to Congress, NIVA says for the first time in history, there is a legitimate fear for their collective existence.
Niva asks the small business administration to offer more help for businesses like theirs, as well as consider increasing the PPP loan cap and extending it until all affected businesses can resume normal operations.
“Loving the Fox is loving independent venues across the U.S., so NIVA needs your help," Spindler said.
To help out, NIVA is asking people to send a message to your local congress members. You can find a pre-written message at NIVA's website.