Interview with Audrey Fix Schaefer of NIVA (National Independent Venue Association)

With music venues across the country shuttered due to COVID-19, we spoke to Audrey Fix Schaefer of NIVA to see what we can all do to help.

The moment the COVID-19 lockdown began, it was clear the live music industry was going to take a big hit. In response, NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) was promptly created and has now grown to over 200 members across the country. NIVA’s mission is: “to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of live music venues and promoters throughout the United States.”

You may have seen venues sharing the #saveourstages initiative over the last few months and we can’t stress enough how much this campaign needs your help and backing. The fact is that the current PPP funding available under the CARES Act does not cover costs such as mortgage, utilities, and insurance costs (among others) that are accruing under lockdown. Also, bear in mind that venues actually had cash sucked out of them when the lockdown was effected as they had to refund ticket sales. 

Given that revenue from touring is most working musicians’ primary income source in the modern-day music world, without independent venues, many musicians will not be able to make a living and new generations of musicians may never get their start. Independent venues are also part of the lifeblood of their local communities providing jobs and supporting the economy in the communities in which they are located. Finally, they, of course, provide all of us in the audience with a chance to turn off our heads for a few hours, make some new friends and enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures…

If you’re here on Loud Hailer, then we guess you love live music as much as we do. If you do, please take half an hour of your day to watch this interview to get a feel for just how serious this situation is. Then head over to and join the more than 500,000 people that have signed up to send to the pre-prepared message (along with the 600+ artists that separately signed a letter to Congress) asking representatives to support the provision of federal assistance that independent venues so desperately need. Without such assistance, 90% of NIVA’s members have said they will be required to close permanently in just a few months.

Big thanks to Audrey Fix Schaefer, Head of Communications for NIVA, for taking the time to discuss the current situation and what we can all do to help. It’s worth mentioning that we did get into a bit of a chat about a couple of our favorite artists at the beginning of this interview. If you want to get straight to the discussion around the venues just jump forward to 5 minutes 30 seconds.

Website  Facebook  Twitter

About Phil Walton 52 Articles
Phil grew up in the UK and loved listening to and playing music from a young age. He moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, falling in love with the city and its music scene. He enjoys nothing better than spending time with musicians, whether it be watching them perform, talking to them for the website or reading their autobiographies.