Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Grants aim to keep music live at Washington venues

A promotional poster for Keep Music Live.
Keep Music Live
A promotional poster for Keep Music Live.

It's been nearly a year since music venues held live and in-person performances. Now, independent venues throughout the state can apply for grants from the fundraising effort known as Keep Music Live.

The application cutoff is Feb. 2 at midnight.

Craig Jewell is a board member at Keep Music Live and a part-owner of the Wild Buffalo House of Music in Bellingham. He says the grants will help venues pay for expenses they still have, like rent or insurance. 

“It’s an everyday sort of battle of, is this going to be worth it on the other side, having this much debt?” Jewell says. “A lot of us are looking at hundreds of thousands. Some of us are looking at millions. But most of us, we’re stubborn, and we’re not willing to let go because we know important the live-music ecosystem is.

The grants are available to venues with a capacity of up to 1,000 people. The first round of grants will be distributed this month and will average about $5,000 apiece, depending on the number of venues that apply.

A second round of grants is expected to follow in the spring.

To learn more about the Keep Music Live grants, go to

Additional funds will be available to venues through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, which was passed in the latest federal pandemic relief bill.

Rebekah Way is an on-call news host at KNKX. She began her career in public radio as a news intern at KNKX, where she's also worked as an interim producer and reporter. Rebekah holds a life-long passion for music and also works as a professional musician and educator in the Seattle area.