Saving Live Music

A crowd holds up their hands in the shape of hearts at a live musical performance.

As COVID-19 ravaged the globe, independent live music venues found themselves in a difficult place. Their livelihoods depended on large groups of people gathering—something that simply was not possible in 2020. Independent venues needed help and someone to carry their message in Lansing. They chose Kelley Cawthorne.

Michigan lawmakers were inundated with competing ideas on how to spend federal COVID-19 relief dollars. Music venues and other, more established trade groups were competing for these limited dollars. Because the legislative process favors those who are organized, we worked with industry leaders to form a new statewide trade group, the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association (“MIVPA”). Next, we helped MIVPA craft and carry a winning message—that saving live music would protect jobs and preserve vital cultural assets.

The campaign worked. We helped MIVPA secure a multimillion-dollar line item in the December 2020 supplemental appropriations bill. The funding helped live music venues cover many of their fixed costs, including payroll, taxes, utility expenses, and mortgages. Ultimately, over 100 grants in 30 Michigan counties were awarded, providing cash infusions of up to $40,000 to support local venues.

In an environment where winning means surviving, Kelley Cawthorne can help organize your industry and craft a winning message.

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Click the button below to email Dave Hildenbrand and learn more about the appropriations process, non-profits, and state grants.