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'There is no opportunity right now': Live music venues at risk of shutting down permanently
EDMONTON -- Live music venues in Edmonton, and across Canada, are feeling left out of emergency federal funding.
Private and independent venues are not eligible for any of the $500 million set aside by Ottawa in early May for organizations funded by government grant programs.
“There is no opportunity right now, as far as generating any revenue for the Starlite or (any) venue within our industry,” said Tyson Cale Boyd, one of the owners of the Starlite Room.
The longtime Edmonton concert hall is one of many venues in Edmonton left struggling because of the pandemic.
The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) is now pushing for the second phase of the government’s emergency funding to include venues left out of phase one.
“We know how essential those small grassroots venues are,” said the CLMA’s Erin Benjamin.
The organization released a report, suggesting 96 per cent of Canadian live music companies are at risk of shutting down.
“We could see a significant part of the broader music industry fall away entirely,” said Benjamin.
In a statement to CTV News, the office of the Heritage Minister did offer some hope to venues facing hardships.
“For the second phase, we have set aside up to $20 million for those organizations in the live music industry that don’t currently receive funding from Heritage Canada or the Canada Council for the Arts.”
The provincial NDP is also pushing the Alberta government to offer assistance to the sector.
“I would also like to see ways that venues and workers that support artists such a tech crews could also receive grants,” said Nicole Goehring, the NDP culture critic.
Venues still don’t have a timeline for reopening and even when they are able to, they will face additional challenges as it could take months to book touring bands.
“We can’t just automatically get up and go like some other industries,” said Boyd.
With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Bill Fortier