Written by guest contributor and Owner/Founder, Fort William Artist Management, Ami Spishock. The Save Our Stages and RESTART Acts are both bills that focus on us, the music community, and helping us to make it through to next year.
It is hard to remember all of the times live music has changed my life. We all know the feeling. Walking into a venue, the energy immediately distinctly different, new faces, lots of sounds. Getting closer to the stage and stopping, mesmerized. Settling in. Always in awe of the musicians doing what they do best, feeling so lucky that they love it because we love it and what a great thing.
I moved to New Orleans from out of state with two small children in tow, excited to get out again, feel these feelings, be a part of what can only be described as a magic carpet ride. How to explain to someone not used to it that there are multiple venues with incredible, diverse musicians each and every night here in New Orleans.
Listening to WWOZ’s Live Wire was pure joy! Incredible! I can see him at 5, her at 6, and then try for one more set at 7! I remember my first time at Tip’s! Both there to see literally every inch of every performance, and to register voters through HeadCount. Right, because venues are houses for many things. Voter registration! First date night! A birthday celebration! A break after a long day at work. How much we exchange together in a room with music. How much we grow. How much we are transformed.
Clearly, times are tough, the world we miss, we miss deeply and dearly. A few of us have been at the frontlines experiencing the way the pandemic and politics could end up crushing the clubs, the music, the musicians, the ecosystem around the musicians. Many are struggling already, and it will get worse. It is important to look to the future and know we will have tougher times if we do not act.
We’ve done a video postcard with the passionate words of our living favorites (looking at you Boutte! Pres Hall!) asking Louisiana Senators Kennedy and Cassidy to pass both the RESTART Act and the Save Our Stages Act.
We are getting somewhere. The Save Our Stages and RESTART Acts are both bills that focus on us, the music community, and helping us to make it through to next year; Or, sadly, through to 2022 which might be the reality for live music.
Now that the election has passed, Congress is currently considering another stimulus package. This is our only chance to act and get the venues we all love to passionately some help to make it to 2021.
Please reach out to Senators Kennedy and Cassidy, as well as Representatives Richmond and Scalise, as soon as possible to Save our Stages while the stimulus bill is being considered: https://nitolive.org/resources/take-action/.
Ami Spishock is the founder and owner of Fort William Artist Management, a female-run, female-staffed management company, working across every aspect of artist management. She handles the worldwide careers of The War on Drugs, Beirut, Grizzly Bear, M Ward, Tamino, and DEHD. She is also the Louisiana representative for the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO). Ami resides in New Orleans and is the mother of two small children.
Photo Credit: Maggie Shannon