Save our Stages: support our independent music venues

If you’re like us, live music is near the top of the list of things you miss most from your pre-COVID life. We’re loving the live streams, but we’re so ready to be able to gather with friends, grab some drinks and get up close and personal with our favorite musicians at music venues around the city. 

We may not know when live music is coming back, but what we do know is that if we don’t act to support our venues now it will never be the same. Small, independent music venues are vulnerable businesses. Many of them operate with slim margins in the best of times, and if they don’t bring in audiences, they don’t bring in revenue – but the bills keep coming. 

Around the country, music venues are starting to close their doors permanently. If we want to come back to a post-COVID world with a rich, vibrant live music scene in our city, we have to act now. We’ve put together a quick guide for steps you can take today.

1. Head to and write to your reps.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is a group of over 2,000 independent venues in 50 states that are banding together to ask Washington for targeted legislation to help them survive. Right on their homepage you’ll find a prewritten letter and an easy form that you can fill out to have your voice heard by your legislators. It takes 2 minutes and it lets our leaders know that music matters!

2. Share your favorite live music memories on social media and use #saveourstages.

Like any movement, visibility is key – the more we can all share why independent music venues matter to our city, the more we’ll be heard. In Memphis we are luckier than most to have an incredible music scene overflowing with talent. Our independent venues are the spaces we gather and celebrate and connect, and the spaces where we enjoy and support our musicians. They are so critical to our city’s culture that we have zero doubt that you have a list of favorite Memphis music moments ready to share – so get to posting and don’t forget #saveourstages!

3. Put some dollars in for the cause.

Donate to the National Independent Venue Association to help power their important lobbying and advocacy work.

4. Stay tuned to YouTube.

NIVA and YouTube just announced a partnership that will create revenue streams for music venues and create music content from these iconic spaces for streaming audiences. The details haven’t been announced yet, but keep an eye on YouTube for opportunities to enjoy artist performances from around the country and support the future of live independent music.

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