NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Louisiana members of The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) released a video testimonial calling for immediate support of the RESTART Act, which would provide small and medium-sized businesses with liquidity to get their businesses up and running again, and ensure they receive loan forgiveness to help fill the gap caused by revenue declines. The video includes appeals to the Louisiana congressional delegation from notable musicians such as Preservation Hall’s Ben Jaffe, Tarriona “Tank” Ball of Tank and the Bangas, Galactic’s Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio, Chubby Carrier and more on behalf of NITO and the live music ecosystem that is the lifeblood of the state’s cultural economy.
Musicians and venues are not currently playing the music and hosting the concerts that generate a financial impact on surrounding communities by over $1 billion across the country. In addition, Louisiana-based musicians and the network of talent agents, managers, promoters, engineers, ushers, stagehands, bartenders, bus drivers and more are currently unable to play shows outside of the state for the foreseeable future due to the effects of COVID-19.
The RESTART Act would authorize a new loan program which would provide funding to cover six months of payroll, benefits, and fixed operating expenses for businesses that have taken a substantial revenue hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. A share of the loan will be forgiven based on the revenue losses suffered by the business in 2020 with the remainder to be repaid over seven years. No interest payments are due in the first year, and no principal payments are due for the first two years.
“On behalf of Preservation Hall and the thousands of musicians who count on a vibrant music economy and entertainment industry here in Louisiana and New Orleans (we ask) for your support and consideration in cosponsoring the RESTART Act,” Preservation Hall Creative Director Ben Jaffe requested of Louisiana Senator John Kennedy. Jaffe added,” The RESTART Act will allow venues to access loans efficiently and flexibly… You know as well as I do the importance of music to our community and to our history and my family who have been operating Preservation Hall for 60 years.”
In 2019, collectively, more than 40,000 concerts were booked by NITO’s members across the U.S. with over 12.5 million tickets sold, generating in excess of half a billion dollars in gross ticket sales annually.
“Please cosponsor the RESTART Act. Louisiana’s musicians and our venues need you so much and need your support,” added Tarriona “Tank” Ball in a heartfelt request for support to Louisiana’s congressional delegation.