After months of conflicts between venue runners and the U.S. Small Business Administration, a number of indie venues came together and wrote to congress, calling on the SBA to resolve issues they’ve had with the Shattered Venues Operators Grant program (SVOG). This news comes a week after it was revealed that only 50 venue operators who applied for the SVOG program actually received grants.
A slew of independent venue organizations – including the National Independent Venue Association, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and the National Independent Talent Organization – all wrote a letter to congress that read:
“The $16.1 billion SVOG program, signed into law in December 2020, provides eligible movie theaters, live venue operators and promoters, talent representatives, and performing arts organizations with grants equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue, up to a maximum of $10 million. Nearly six months later, the SBA’s repeated errors and delays have endangered the very businesses and organizations the program was designed to help. The SBA has now missed its June 9 deadline to grant funds to those businesses suffering 90% or more losses and to begin making grants to the second tier of businesses suffering 70% or more losses.”
Since the pandemic, many venues have either lost money or had to shut down completely. The SVOG was created for the purpose of providing relief for these types of venues, and were supposed to provide $15 million in federal aid for local venues struggling to stay afloat.
While as of June 9 the number of grants received has increased, there have still been delays in reviewed applications. 4,661 applications are currently being reviewed by the SBA, while 9,269 haven’t even been looked at yet.