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Michigan venues, promoters form new trade organization

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Music venues and promoters from around the stage have joined forces to form the Michigan Independent Venue & Promoter Association (MIVPA).

The first of its kind in Michigan and one of only a handful throughout the country, the MIVPA is a state trade association to offer members an opportunity for networking and collaboration in the post-pandemic live music ticketed events music scene. It's an outgrowth of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).

More than 70 live music venues in Michigan have been closed since March due to COVID-19, with many hundreds of festivals and concert events delayed indefinitely due to the pandemic. To date, there has been no federal or state of Michigan assistance that can provide adequate or appropriate assistance to venues and promoters. The MIVPA wants to change that on the state level.

The initial priority for the organization is already in motion. MIVPA has engaged lobbying firm Kelley Cawthorne out of Lansing to help get legislation written and passed for a $10,000,000 fund to be used for grants to assist Michigan live music venues and promoters.

"This new organization gives us a collective voice," says Scott Hammontree, managing partner of The Intersection in Grand Rapids and one of the co-founders of MIVPA. "Our venues and fans have made enough noise to get the attention of some legislators. We hope the new organization and lobbying efforts help complete a bridge to the other side of this."

There are only a couple of states and communities that have trade associations for live music venues and promoters. The fiercely independent industry has rarely seen collaboration among venues and promoters. The incorporators believe the time has come for that to change. Once the COVID-19 fund has been established, the new trade association will turn their efforts to find ways the collective voice can help in other aspects of the industry as they re-open.

The MIVPA will encourage all Michigan supporters of live music to visit SaveMIStages.com to write letters of support to state-level elected officials, asking them to set aside $10 million for a newly created #SaveMIStages Fund, which will be distributed among active Michigan music venues to help with overhead costs and ensure that these community spaces aren't lost forever.

"We know people are tired and that pandemic fatigue is real," says Hammontree. "We are fatigued, too. But if we can pull the venues together and get our venue fans to do one more big push, we think concerts will be a reality in 2021 in music venues all across Michigan. "

More information and updates can be found at mivpa.org.

Web Site: www.mivpa.org

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