BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The live music businesses has been hit hard over the last couple months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some venue operators say they may have no choice but to close for good.

Baltimore Soundstage hasn’t hosted a show since March 8, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The artists don’t have anywhere to play, staff doesn’t have anywhere to work, you know the business has come to a standstill,” Dave Adams, General Manager of Baltimore Soundstage, said.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Adams says 60 shows have been canceled, postponed or rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the most notable acts canceled include Black Pumas, Coin and Maryland Death Fest.

“We can’t package up our product and send it out the door,” Adams said. “We have to have people in the venue, it’s a live experience.”

Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia is also struggling.

Audrey Fix Schaefer, of I.M.P., which operates the pavilion says independent venues are incredibly important to the music industry.

“If there weren’t small neighborhood clubs and other venues, you wouldn’t have Bruce Springsteen or Lady Gaga or Lizzo,” she said. “That’s where they hone their craft.”

The group has joined the National Independent Venue Association, or NIVA. It was formed during the pandemic to lobby to get aid from Congress.

Many of its 1,600 members all across the country say they can’t last without help.

“90 percent of NIVA members said if the shutdown lasts six months or longer, and there’s no federal assistance, they will fold,” Fix Schaefer said.

And even when they do reopen, social distancing restrictions could still make it difficult to stay in business

“We’re not sure if we’re going to be able to operate at the capacity necessary to sustain our business,” Adams said.

So, how can you support these venues? Adams and Fix Schaefer say visit saveourstages.com to write to legislators about this.

You can also buy merchandise from their websites, as well gift cards.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Stetson Miller

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