Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Local Live Music Venues Receive $5 million in Emergency Funding and Complete Equity Training

Photo of downtown Austin skyline and Town Lake

AUSTIN, TX - The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces the award of an additional $3.5 million to 28 local live music venues as Phase 2 of the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund continues. Awardees will receive monthly payments of up to $140,000 over the course of six months. This brings the total of distributed dollars in both phases to $5 million by September 2021.  
The funding was provided through the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund, which is a $5 million program of the Save Austin's Vital Economic Sectors (SAVES) Fund established by the Austin City Council on December 3, 2020 via Resolution No. 20200103-013. As part of a partnership with the City of Austin, The Long Center processed applications and distributed grants for the program's Phase 1: Emergency Funding and Phase 2: Enhanced Funding.
"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," explains 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."
Phase 2 applicants were awarded based on program criteria and eligibility requirements. Applications were awarded against a scoring matrix that included criteria for vulnerability (those businesses most in danger of failing) and impact (those businesses whose failure would have the greatest detrimental impact on the city's civic infrastructure, economic recovery, and preservation of its unique culture, character, and brand.) The City of Austin aggregated metrics for economic impact for each phase through the online dashboard for the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Grant.
Additionally, all Phase 2 applicants were required to complete equity training. Equity firm, Joyce James Consulting, conducted the three-part training series from February through early May. The trainings consisted of virtual sessions on recognizing and understanding systemic racism. Applicants also received support to develop equity strategic plans that are actionable and can be implemented within one year of the grant award. Applicants will submit detailed "Live Music Venue Equity Strategic Plans" as the final eligibility requirement.
"The Long Center is proud to be a partner to the City of Austin in this critically important recovery effort," said Cory Baker, President and CEO of the Long Center. "28 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."
The Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund was distributed in two phases:
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.


About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/edd or like us on Facebook @AustinEconDev and follow @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

About the Long Center for Performing Arts
For Austinites of every background, the Long Center is the community gathering place that offers the most diverse programming and stunning views of the city, so that together, everyone can experience remarkable live arts and entertainment. The Long Center is dedicated to elevating Austin's creative sector, serving artists across Austin, including creative organizations, musicians and performing artists, with both performance spaces and professional assistance.