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Austin live music venues receive $5M in emergency funding, equity training

The funding was provided through the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund, a $5 million program of the Save Austin’s Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund.

AUSTIN, Texas — Twenty-eight live music venues in Austin will receive monthly payments of $140,000 for six months as part of a City emergency fund. 

The City of Austin Economic Development Department announced Tuesday the award of an additional $3.5 million to the venues as Phase 2 of the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund continues, bringing the total of distributed dollars in both phases to $5 million by September 2021.

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According to the City, the dollars were granted through the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund, a $5 million program of the Save Austin’s Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund. 

“The local venues who received this funding demonstrated a commitment not only to our vibrant music scene, but a focus on equity and inclusion for musicians and audiences alike,” explained Veronica Briseño, Austin’s Chief Economic Recovery Officer. “Our hope is that these dollars assist Austin’s iconic live music venues through a time of great transition and business recovery.”

As part of a partnership with the City, The Long Center processed applications and distributed grants for the program’s Phase 1: Emergency Funding and Phase 2: Enhanced Funding.

Phase 1: Emergency Funding

  • Eligible applicants experiencing immediate risk of closure received a $20,000 grant, which the Long Center distributed in December 2020.
  • Additional services available to venues who received emergency funding included: legal and accounting services; real estate advice and guidance on lease negotiations; and other professional services and long-term planning from community experts. 

Phase 2: Enhanced Funding

  • Only Phase 1 grant recipients were eligible to apply for additional grant funding in Phase 2.
  • Phase 1 grant recipients were required to complete a technical assistance evaluation and an Equity Strategic Plan in order to receive additional funds.
  • Eligible applicants from Phase 1 could receive additional grant funding up to $140,000 (this does not include funds received from the first phase). The funding will be distributed in monthly payments with a maximum of $40,000 per month.

The City said Phase 2 applicants were awarded based on program criteria and eligibility requirements. Those applications were awarded against a scoring matrix that included criteria for vulnerability and impact. The City of Austin combined the data for economic impact for each phase through the online dashboard for the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Grant.

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Phase 2 applicants were required to complete a three-part equity training series from February through early May. The trainings consisted of virtual sessions on recognizing and understanding systemic racism.

“The Long Center is proud to be a partner to the City of Austin in this critically important recovery effort,” said President and CEO of the Long Center Cory Baker. “Twenty-eight stages across our community have a little bit more stability with the disbursement of Phase 2 funds. Our community has a long way to go in our recovery efforts, and it is our sincere hope that the Austin Live Music Preservation Fund was the bridge that some venues needed as we return to live performances.”

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