The Grammys will be inviting workers from New York’s Apollo Theater, Nashville’s Station Inn, and Los Angeles’ Troubadour and the Hotel Café to present awards at this year’s ceremony, which will take place on March 14. This invitation is meant to spotlight independent venues, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last summer, a study showed that up to 90 percent of independent venues were at risk of permanent closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put pressure on Congress to provide funding through the Save Our Stages Act. While Save Our Stages passed both chambers of Congress, the rollout for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, which is supposed to provide funding for these venues, has been delayed. Many venue workers have also been unemployed as a result of these closures.
First-time Grammy executive producer Ben Winston explained this move was made to celebrate the role independent venues have on the music community, which are often integral spaces for emerging artists. The workers who will take part come from a variety of different backgrounds, including bartenders, security and door people.
“It’s the people who make these places historic, and this allows us to highlight the great work that they do and the fact that they’ve been out of work for so long — and to show that we haven’t forgotten them on ‘Music’s Biggest Night,’ and remind our audience that when this is all over, to go back to their favorite venue,” Winston said in a statement to Variety.
Photo Credit: Brett Padelford