Entertainment venues still awaiting 'huge lifeline' from federal grant program

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Friday will mark a milestone at The Pour House music venue in downtown Raleigh. Bands are coming in for the first time in nearly a year.

March 17, 2020, was the last time acoustic instruments were plugged in and musicians played for a crowd.

The state is easing restrictions and allowing venues to reopen.

Owner Adam Lindstadt wishes the federal government would tune into the times and swiftly move to offer promised help.

"It's a huge lifeline," he said.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was signed into law this past December. Places can get up 45% of the revenue they earned in the year before the pandemic.

Various venues can tap into funds, including theaters, private museums, and music halls.

Lindstadt is anxious for money to pour into The Pour House and said that even with the federal help, he could still be in debt for decades.

He has already taken out a PPP loan.

Lindstadt said it is hard to start repaying that money when there has essentially been no business.

"It's been extremely stressful. There's some days where we feel like curling up in a ball and crying in the corner," he said.

He and his wife are trying to offset losses.

The second level of the venue was converted into a record shop. It's been open to the public since October. Folks can browse vinyl records from Thursday through Saturday during limited hours.

Some artists are giving back during this time.

"Gray Young (is a) great band. We actually sold a bunch of their records and they were kind enough to donate their portion of the sales back to us," Lindstadt said.

The sales are a small source of revenue, but nothing like the 1,200 acts that would ordinarily come through each year.

"We've been paying out of pocket and having no income for the last 12 months, it'll help make up that ground and mitigate some of our loses that we've had and put us on equal standing with the other bars and restaurants," Lindstadt said.

There's no date when the applications will go live.

The Small Business Administration is administering the money and said it is still in the process of setting up the program.
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