Live entertainment venues get lifeline in latest stimulus bill

Uptown Theater Empty Stage
Posted at 8:24 AM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 23:32:51-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the latest stimulus package there is a $15 billion allotment for live entertainment venues. They're called "Save our Stages" funds.

"This will keep us alive. We've been very instrumental, like most of the small independent venues, in preserving the neighborhood," said Larry Sells, owner of the Uptown Theater.

There won't be a New Year's Eve bash and the stage remains empty due to the pandemic.

"You can't keep a society closed down forever and expect people to survive," Sells said.

Over the spring, Sells stretched the money he received from the Paycheck Protection Program among his 20 employees.

"We were able to keep them in the theater working, cleaning, doing a lot of maintenance and things that we would normally not get to at this time of the year," Sells said.

The Save our Stages funds will be doled out grants, not loans, and capped at $10 million per venue.

"I really do think that this the light is at the end of the tunnel," said Frank Hicks, owner of Knuckleheads Saloon.

The establishment in the East Bottoms reopened over the summer but restrictions have made business tough.

"They need money as bad as we do ... We try to make as much as we can and share as much as we can with the employees and with the musicians and stuff," Hicks said.

Venues which have sustained income losses totaling 90% or more will be among the first to receive Save our Stages funds.

"That's been our goal, was to just stay open and try to keep things going and have a place for people come down, relaxing, still enjoying music," Hicks said.

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