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With no end to pandemic in sight, venues like Seattle's Crocodile worry about survival

The Crocodile in Seattle
Joe Mabel
/
Wikimedia Commons
The Crocodile in Seattle

The statewide stay-at-home order shuttered live music venues in March. Now, those businesses are questioning if they will be able to survive, with no source of revenue for the foreseeable future.

That could be the fate for The Crocodile in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood, despite the venue receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan. 

Adam Wakeling, general partner for The Crocodile, says that with no end to the pandemic in sight, it’s unclear when the venue will be able to open for shows and regain steady revenue.

“It’s a pretty dire situation at this point,” Wakeling said, stressing the need for government funding. “Whether it be city, county, state, federal government, it needs to happen or we’re going to disappear.”

Groups such as the Washington Nightlife Music Association and the National Independent Venue Association have been campaigning for federal funding.

In the Seattle area, the music business is huge. The industry generated an estimated $2.2 billion in sales throughout King County, according to a 2008 study. 

But Wakeling says the closure of local venues would be more than an economic loss.

“Music is going to survive no matter what happens,” Wakeling said. “It’s the infrastructure that has been built and taken forever to get where it’s at is really in danger. And it’s not just us, it’s not just the venues, it’s all the artists and musicians who are out there.”

Touring generates most of the income for many musicians.

Federal lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill in the Senate. The Save Our Stages Act would provide six months of financial support to small, independent venue operators, promoters and talent representatives — which could serve as a lifeline for venues and artists alike. It would provide $10 billion in grant funding.