COVID-19 has devastated DC’s music community. Since it began, the pandemic has forced the closure of at least four longstanding D.C. music institutions, all four cornerstones of the local music economy who presented the jazz, R&B and soul musicians bearing the torch of D.C.’s legacy of Black music. The most recent casualty is the beloved Twins Jazz, which supported DC’s vibrant jazz scene for 33 years, which announced its closure on August 27.

Most live music performances are not expected to resume until the final phases of reopening, and even then, public health precautions will delay the full reintegration of live music into daily life for months and potentially years to come. In this uncertain period, the continued survival of many legendary music venues — establishments that have supported our city’s artists for decades and launched the careers of national superstars — is in question. If our administration and Council do not adopt a plan to allow venues to survive the next twelve months, a century’s legacy of history and culture stands to be wiped out completely. The effects of these losses on the District’s significant cultural economy could be catastrophic, and last for years.

The signatories below voice our support for the DC Music Venue Relief Act, a piece of legislation drafted by a coalition of music advocates, venue owners and approved by three current councilmembers. We ask that you co-sign this draft legislation and act decisively to preserve DC’s vibrant cultural landscape.

The legislation calls for financial support of DC’s music venues to help them sustain their businesses from October 2020 through May 2021. The act is designed to provide partial support not only to dedicated music venues, but also to the many small restaurants and bars who play a crucial role in the music scene by hosting live entertainment frequently. (In DC, these establishments are sometimes more important to the livelihood of our city’s resident musicians than dedicated clubs.) The former may be eligible for up to $15,000 per month; the latter, up to $7,000 per month. The bill includes detailed calculations for relief eligibility based on square footage and other relevant factors.

Full letter/legislation:
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Name (First and Last this is a sign on to an official letter) *
Ward or City
Organizational affiliation (optional but on the letter this lets the council know your affiliation to the music community i.e. musician, producer, manager)
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