The 72 independent entertainment venues and promoters from Wisconsin, all members of the recently formed National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), have worked together to plan a local day of action for Tuesday, August 4th to seek support for the Save Our Stages Act and RESTART Act, two bills that have been introduced to ensure the survival of independent venues across the nation.


The Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258), introduced by Senators Cornyn and Klobuchar, and the RESTART Act (S. 3814 / H.R. 7481), introduced by Senators Young and Bennet and Representatives Golden and Kelly, provide vital support for independent venues that have lost nearly 100% of their revenue since the pandemic began in March.  These venues will remain closed well into 2021 due to safety concerns posed by large gatherings.  These institutions draw most of their revenue from acts that tour the United States, and until it’s safe to do so en masse, it won’t be possible for venues to bring back their staff.  90% of the 2,400 national members of NIVA have stated that they will be forced to close their doors if the shutdown lasts 6 months or more and they do not get meaningful support from Congress.


A recent Chicago study estimated that $1 spent at a small venue resulted in $12 of economic activity in their neighborhoods: meals, coffee, local transportation, hotels, retail, etc.  Venues are economic generators, beloved institutions, and most importantly, community builders.  More than 1.3 million live music lovers have written letters to their elected officials via


Wisconsin – based NIVA members include:

Big River Theatre, Alma

Gibson Community Music Hall, Appleton

Mile of Music, Appleton

OuterEdge Stage, Appleton

Big Top Chautauqua, Bayfield

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Brookfield

Country Fest, Cadott

Rock Fest, Cadott

X-Ray Arcade, Cudahy

Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild’s Grand Theatre, Eau Claire

Blue Ox Music Festival, Eau Claire

Country Jam USA, Eau Claire

Eaux Claire’s Festival, Eau Claire

Pablo Center at the Confluence, Eau Claire

Pine Hollow, Eau Claire

The Lakely, Eau Claire

The Metro, Eau Claire

The Plus, Eau Claire

Ugly Mermaid Venue & Cultural Centre, Eau Claire

Funk’s Pub, Fitchburg

Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts, Fond du Lac

Cavalier Theater, La Crosse

Pump House Regional Arts Center, La Crosse

Warehouse, La Crosse

Weber Center for the Performing Arts, La Crosse

Arts Wisconsin, Madison

Barrymore Theatre, Madison

Cafe CODA, Madison

Communication Madison, Madison

Liquid & Ruby, Madison

North Street Cabaret, Madison

Overture Center for the Arts, Madison

The Venue on Winnebago St, Madison

T Presents, Madison

The Mabel Tainter, Menomonie

Cactus Club, Milwaukee

Company Brewing, Milwaukee

Eagles Club, Milwaukee

Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, Milwaukee

LIVE @ the Lakefront, Milwaukee

Pabst Theater Group, Milwaukee

Shank Hall, Milwaukee

Site 1A, Milwaukee

Tavern at Turner Hall, Milwaukee

The Cooperage, Milwaukee

The Back Room @ Colectivo, Milwaukee

The Miramar Theatre, Milwaukee

The Rave, Milwaukee

The Riverside Theater, Milwaukee

Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee

Var Gallery and Studios, Milwaukee

Walker’s Point Music Hall, Milwaukee

The Mineral Point Opera House, Mineral Point

Campanile Center for the Arts, Minocqua

The Suburban Bourbon, Muskego

Country USA, Neenah

Rock USA, Neenah

Old Gem Theater, New Richmond

The Grand Oshkosh, Oshkosh

Xebec Corporation, Rhinelander

Weill Center Foundation, Inc., Sheboygan

LuCille Tack Center for the Arts, Spencer

The Shitty Barn, Spring Green

Stoughton Opera House, Stockholm

WideSpot Performing Arts Center & Community Project Inc, Stockholm

Intellasound Productions, Verona

Associates of the Restored Temple Theatre, Ltd, Viroqua

Historic Temple Theatre, Viroqua

BruMar Productions, Waukesha

Grand Theater, Wausau

Westby Area Performing Arts Center, Westby

The Palace Theater, Wisconsin Dells



This is not your typical press release.  Our ask is beyond newsworthy.  Without support from Congress these community anchors WILL close, and we’ll be left to ask whether we did our part to save them.


We are asking our media friends to rally behind this movement and spread the word this coming Tuesday August 4th, 2020.  The timing is vital.  Congress goes on break, and is rushing to complete its next relief bill, and independent venues MUST be included.  These mom and pop entrepreneurs are among the hardest hit by a pandemic: first to close and will be among the last to re-open.  There’s no takeout version of concerts.  Drive-ins and virtual streaming shows don’t begin to put our people back to work.  The gig economy has been shuttered, and many thousands of our friends are at home, hoping the government keeps them fed while our industry tries to figure out what’s next.

Do you have space to feature the Save Our Stages Act on your channels and platforms on Tuesday?  Even if you’ve previously covered NIVA or the RESTART Act, this new push is the most important one yet, and your support would be vital in ensuring it happens!  Alongside traditional coverage, any support via social media or email marketing lists would be remarkable, and if you tag #SaveOurStages or #Save WISCSONSIN Stages, we’ll make sure that members will share and retweet from our accounts, getting you some shine in the process!


#SaveOurStages #SaveMichiganStages


ABOUT NIVA: Formed at the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), now represents more than 2,400 members in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. These independent venues and promoters were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen. NIVA’s mission is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent live music venues, promoters and festivals throughout the United States.



NIVA Updated Fact Sheet

Video recap of Save Our Stages movement



Interviews with Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, available upon request.

Pabst Theater Group Media Contact: Sara Peronto,


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