Independently-owned venues and concert promoter are feeling the burn amid the sudden halt in the live event industry. In order to combat large entertainment giants during this trying time, these rival companies have joined forces.

The National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA, aims to “preserve the ecosystem of live music venues and touring artists.” NIVA consists of smaller to mid-sized promoters and venues, acting as a lobbying firm to secure funding as the industry loses revenue due to nationwide shutdown orders. According to WGLT, the Peoria-based Jay Goldberg Events and its affiliated Canopy Club in Champaign joined NIVA this week.

Ian Goldberg, the company’s president, said that ahead of the shutdown, he was thrilled with the state of the live event industry, telling that “it went from what looked like it could be a banner year to probably what will be one of the most difficult years of our life.” Goldberg Events, which runs the four-day Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillichothe, already postponed its event from late May to late August, hoping that crowds will be able to commence by the end of the summer.

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While companies like Goldberg’s are usually at territorial wars, they’re now collaborating with rival promoters and venues in order to combat even bigger companies – like entertainment giants Live Nation and AEG. Goldberg noted that at this point, members of NIVA want to present shows “so we can support the whole local community, and not have people coming in from all different areas and taking the money and running.” While his company used to handle most of the live shows at the Peoria Civic Center, they now only get about two or three our of every 20 shows, as Live Nation produces the rest.

“Live Nation started the gambit of solving that problem by going in and just buying the local promoters in all the major markets,” Goldberg told WGLT. “And then, gaining enough market power, they were able to squeeze us promoters in the smaller markets. That has gotten us to the point where especially during this crisis, we all realized that to a certain extent we need to band together and settle on trade policies we feel will support our ability to continue to perform in the marketplace.”

At this point, festivals and concerts are cancelled across the globe. Pollstar estimates that the closures may cause the industry to lose up to $9 billion in revenue. Goldberg said that at this point, promoters and venues a part of NIVA are brainstorming where to go from here and how to generate any revenue during this time. As more and more states consider opening up to the public, Goldberg shares that he believes music is an “essential business,” noting that “in times of crisis people turn to art and music in particular for entertainment.”

Even when concerts do resume, promoters and venues need to consider what socially-distant shows will look like. Already, a concert in Arkansas is slated to go on next week using the checkerboard seating concept to obey social distancing rules with concertgoers placed six feet apart.

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