Mayor London Breed Announces Awards for Music and Entertainment Venues
The Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund is providing grants to every eligible music and entertainment venue in San Francisco to support the industry’s recovery from COVID-19
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City is awarding 28 music and entertainment venues in San Francisco with a total of $1 million in grants from its Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund. Each of the venues will receive an award of $35,720 to prevent their permanent closure due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This past year has been devastating for the entertainment sector, and these local funds will help these businesses survive and start to recover,” said Mayor Breed. “Our music and entertainment venues are part of what makes San Francisco such a special place to live in and visit, and I’m glad we’re able to provide this local support to help them make it through this challenging time.”
The Venue Fund advances recommendations from San Francisco’s Economic Recovery Task Force to support the arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment sector. The Fund is aligned with other City initiatives to support entertainment venues, including Mayor Breed’s $2.5 million in fee and tax relief for entertainment venues and the proposals to support arts and culture in the Mayor’s Small Business Recovery Act legislation. The local Venue Fund provides direct financial relief in addition to the forthcoming federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, administered by the Small Business Administration, which initially launched its application on April 8 and is now slated to send award notifications by the end of May.
In March 2021, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney agreed to allocate $3 million to the fund as part of $24.8 million for small business loans and grants in the current year surplus spending plan.
“Art, culture, and music will be central to our city’s economic recovery,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “These grants will be a lifeline for independent venues that add so much to our city and have been shuttered for much of the last year. We all are so excited to see music and performance come back in full force in the city and these venue fund grants will be critical in ensuring that happens.”
The Fund is administered by San Francisco’s Office of Small Business, and was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, the Small Business Commission, the San Francisco Venue Coalition, and the Independent Venue Alliance.
The City has sent the first grant award notifications to 28 venues from a pool of 84 applications from San Francisco-based live music and entertainment venues. The grant application process closed just three weeks ago; all 84 applications have now been fully reviewed and remaining applicants have been asked to finalize their applications by July 30.
The Fund is also available to receive donations from the public. Any private donations received will be distributed as part of a future round of grants. Members of the public interested in donating may find out more information at sfosb.org/venuefund
“On behalf of the 34 live music venues that comprise San Francisco’s Independent Venue Alliance, we wish to express our gratitude to Mayor Breed, Supervisor Haney, and the hard-working folks in the Office of Small Business, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Entertainment Commission,” said Lynn Schwarz, co-owner of Bottom of the Hill and spokesperson for the Independent Venue Alliance. “The City created a fund for local entertainment venues at lightning speed, created an application process that was easy and quick, and is about to distribute the funds that will help us get to the finish line of the marathon closure caused by the pandemic. This financial help is so key to our survival, and we look forward to working with the City so that this fund can continue to help needy venues moving forward."
“Huge thanks to Mayor Breed and Supervisor Haney for prioritizing a recovery fund to help San Francisco venues get back on their feet,” said Lynne Angel, General Manager at El Rio. “Our industry was hit very hard and it has been a constant struggle over the last year. We are far from regaining any sense of normalcy and have lost so many great spots already. This grant will ensure that we as a legacy business and community space can continue to be a part of SF nightlife and provide a second home to our dear patrons, performers and staff. This means so much to us. Thank you.”
“San Francisco venues have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic as the first to close and last to reopen for the sake of public health and safety,” said Casey Lowdermilk, Co-Founder of the San Francisco Venue Coalition. “We are grateful for the leadership of Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney in championing this effort and understanding the real economic impact of our cultural institutions. We also want to acknowledge the hard work and continued engagement of the Office of Small Business, Office of Economic & Workforce Development and Entertainment Commission. This funding will go a long way to ensure our San Francisco venues will not only survive this pandemic but also remain as pillars of San Francisco’s cultural heartbeat and economic revival from this pandemic.”
Venues eligible to receive funding must have held a Place of Entertainment permit from the Entertainment Commission prior to the start of the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate a track record of substantial live entertainment programming, among other eligibility criteria. More information about the Fund is available at sfosb.org/venuefund