TAMPA, Fla. — Tom DeGeorge gets emotional thinking about all the shows he’s hosted at Crowbar in Ybor City and how the stage has been empty for the last nine months.
“I know this has been tough on everybody, but when you realize your life’s not going to be back to normal for two years, man, it’s hard.”
In recent months, DeGeorge turned into a lobbyist for Florida’s small clubs as a National Independent Venue Association leader.
And his efforts worked, helping to pass the Save Our Stages Act, which includes $15 billion in relief for independent music venues and theaters.
“First part of the big challenge is over. We gotta finish strong. And after that, there are many more challenges to be met. But I know if we stay committed to what we are doing, we can save this industry completely,” Degeorge said.
Straz CEO Judy Lisi says venues of all sizes worked together on the Save Our Stages Act.
“We’ve all been hanging on by our fingernails waiting for it to pass, and indeed it has.”
And the money they get will help bridge the time until big Broadway shows return to their big stage.
“We thought maybe we’d back in a couple of months. It turns into it will be a year in March. We probably won’t fully open until next fall.”
“It’s important to tell those landlords to please be patient with these venues. I assure you this money is coming in, and we just need a little bit of time. And you are going to get your money. We need to keep these venues around,” said DeGeorge.
The aid will come as grants that don’t have to be repaid and are meant to provide six months of financial support.
For more information, go to https://www.nivassoc.org/.