The city saved Charlotte’s music venues with COVID-19 aid

The Neighborhood Theater received over $ 200,000 from the city’s Music Venue Grant program.

The city of Charlotte distributed more than $ 800,000 in aid to battered music events when COVID-19 shut down live entertainment last year.

Details: Axios received data from the city through its Music Venue Grant program, funded by federal CARES Act funding, which Charlotte received. The financing consisted of nine months of rent or mortgage allowance and was disbursed in November and December last year.

A total of 11 small independent venues received grants ranging from $ 15,000 to just over $ 200,000.

Dates: City of Charlotte

  • The Neighborhood Theater in NoDa received the most of all the venues at $ 206,000.
  • The Comedy Zone was awarded $ 117,000.
  • Amos’ Southend and Roxbury received $ 95,000 and $ 94,000, respectively.

Why it matters: The pandemic has hit the entertainment industry particularly hard. Independent venues, which are a major cultural hub, were among the most vulnerable.

In response, the city opened applications for its scholarship program in October 2020.

  • To qualify, venues currently had to be closed and have been allowed to do so since Sept.
  • They also had to provide evidence of live performance history and ticket sales.

Gregg McCraw is the owner of Maxx Music, which books talent for the Neighborhood Theater. He tells me that funding from the city kept the theater going.

  • The venue ran out of money several times during the pandemic and was unable to pay its bills, McCraw said.

Charlotte has been fortunate to see no independent venues close permanently unlike other cities, McCraw said.

  • “Without city funding … I would only guess that at least half of us would have been forced to close,” he said.

What’s next: Live music has returned to many venues, often with evidence of a COVID-19 vaccine or negative test required to attend. But McCraw says the industry has still not recovered, especially given the delta variant fear.

  • We’re not out of the woods, ”he said.

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