Live music venues had to close in March and revenue was abruptly halted, but the bills and rent are still due monthly, and many will not survive.
“They are hoping they can get a loan, but even that has a lot of ins and outs,” says Houston concert promoter Robert Ehlinger. “You get the PPP Loan, and that’s for payroll protection and that’s for payroll protection, but they’ve got to pay rent or else we’re going to be closed. Its sucks all around. That’s about all I can say. It’s not good for anybody.”
One of the venues he books bands into is Numbers, a legendary nightspot for dancing and fun at the corner of Westheimer and Mason, voted the best night club in Houston for 2020. And then Covid hit. Manager Rudi Bunch is trying to remain optimistic, but with no revenue stream coming in and monthly bills for utilities, licenses and insurance still going out, the numbers aren’t adding up for longevity if shutdowns persist. When clubs were allowed to open to 25%, even 50% capacity, Bunch was still concerned for the safety of patrons and staff and elected to remain closed, but the pandemic has dragged on and his optimism is challenged in new ways daily. He’s hopeful he’ll make it.
To try and help out, Ehlinger has created a donation campaign including a CD package and stream called “Numbers Covered.” He says 100% of proceeds will go to Numbers longevity fund. “It’s cover tracks of all of the songs that have been played at Numbers for the past 30 years covered by bands that have played there.”
This is the Facebook link with information.
The live music industry is projected to lose close to $9 billion this year, from the massive stadium venues to the sprawling lawns of amphitheater seating for philharmonics to the dance clubs where music throbs. Live Nation, the world largest promoter of live music, had booked 7,213 concerts by this time last year. They’ve done 24 in 2020, and have changed their performance contracts for next year pushing much of the burden to the acts that haven’t had a place to perform in 2020. It’s a bad situation all the way around.
We could not have known when Don McLean sang about “the day the music died,” that there could actually be a day when live music died.