Music venues plead for Congressional relief amid uncertain future

Music venues plead for Congressional relief amid uncertain future

640 480

Each Thursday morning on Radio Milwaukee we — the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Jordan Lee — talk about the music coming into and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In

The live music is facing an unprecedented crisis. Almost all music venues in the country have been closed since March, and the entire live music industry is watching to see if Congress can come together to pass a bipartisan bill that will offer venues some relief. Currently Congress is considering two such bills: the RESTART and Save Our Stages Acts.

Today we’re joined by two members of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA): Gary Witt, president of the Pabst Theater Group, and Kelsey Kaufmann, owner of Cactus Club. Both paint the picture of an industry in dire straits.

The Riverside Theater |

“We had hoped for at least a little better certainty of what our future is,” Witt says.

“The number one thing that each of these groups needs is money,” he explains. “We’ve been out of business since the 15th of March. We have zero revenue coming in, and we’re not a business that can open at 25% capacity … We are dependent on revenue coming in to be able to continue to operate our businesses.”

“Music venues are the cultural anchors of our communities,” Kaufmann says.

Both are asking people to go to to sign a petition calling congress to action.

Hear them talk about the economic impact of live music and just how daunting the outlook for many music venues is right now on this week’s episode.

Like what you hear? Subscribe!

Get all of 88Nine’s podcasts delivered right to you weekly at We’ve got podcasts about music, food and film, with fresh episodes dropping every week! And don’t forget to check out our new podcast “By Every Measure,” a six-part exploration of systemic racism in Milwaukee.

Support from our community makes stories like the one you just read possible. Make a gift to support the team behind the programming you use and enjoy!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee