Even though Save Our Stages and the RESTART Act, efforts to provide emergency federal aid to entertainment venues, were introduced over the summer, they still haven’t passed. With many venues closing across the country and others in dire straits because of the pandemic, David Weingarden, vice president of concerts and events for Z2 Entertainment, teamed up with five other talent buyers nationwide to create a festival to support the National Independent Venues Association’s Save Our Stages advocacy and relief efforts for members of the independent music, comedy and arts community.
“We needed to put something together, just seeing how things were going with Congress,” Weingarden says. “We all sort of needed to band together.”
In the works for the past few months, Save Our Stages Fest (#SOSFEST) starts Friday, October 16, and runs through Sunday, October 18. The virtual festival, hosted by Reggie Watts, includes performances from 35 artists recorded live from more than 25 of the most storied independent concert venues across the United States. The Lumineers and Nathaniel Rateliff will perform from the Boulder Theater, which Z2 operates.
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The festival includes an intimate set from the Foo Fighters and performances by Brittany Howard, Dave Matthews, Dillon Francis, the Roots, Marshmello and Demi Lovato, Kelsea Ballerini, Miley Cyrus, Monica, Reba McEntire and more. SOS Fest will be streamed live in its entirety on NIVA’s official YouTube channel, with performance segments simultaneously airing on performers' YouTube channels.
"It's going be a little bit different than watching Bonnaroo or Coachella on YouTube," Weingarden says "It's going to look a little bit different, and it'll be showcasing all the different venues. ... These artists are playing in the 930 Club and the Troubadour and Jefferson Theatre in Charlottesville and Preservation Hall and Whisky a Go Go."
With support from YouTube, Google, participating artists and 2,800 venues around the country that are part of NIVA, Weingarden thinks #SOSFEST could be one of the biggest online festivals in history. He hopes the event will raise millions for NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund.
“The fund is going to be a stopgap to help all these venues, if they so choose to apply for it,” Weingarden says.
The first round of grants from NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund will go to venues that could potentially close very soon, while venues that are a bit more resourced might need to wait a little longer.
“The main thing is to make sure that we're funding these places that are potentially going to be going under,” Weingarden says. “The whole thing on this Emergency Relief Fund is to float all boats, to make sure that we're all in this together. We all need to make sure that we're helping or helping each other out, because we're certainly not getting the help in a timely fashion, at least from Congress.”
#SOSFest Full Line-up and Schedule
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16
5 PM PT / 8 PM ET - Alec Benjamin, Hotel Cafe
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET - FINNEAS, Teragram Ballroom
6 PM PT / 9 PM ET - Sebastián Yatra, Broward Center
6:40 PM PT / 9:40 PM ET - Dizzy Fae, First Avenue
7:10 PM PT / 10:10 PM ET - Macklemore, Neumos
7:50 PM PT / 10:50 PM ET - YG, Troubadour
8:15 PM PT / 11:15 PM ET - G-Eazy, The Independent
8:45 PM PT / 11:45 PM ET - Marshmello + Demi Lovato, Troubadour
8:55 PM PT / 11:55 PM ET - Dillion Francis, Teragram Ballroom
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17
1 PM PT / 4 PM ET - Jason Mraz, Belly Up Tavern
1:40 PM PT / 4:40 PM ET - Adam Melchor, Hotel Cafe
2:10 PM PT / 5:10 PM ET - Kelsea Ballerini, Exit/In
2:40 PM PT / 5:40 PM ET - JP Saxe, Troubadour
3:15 PM PT / 6:15 PM ET - Cautious Clay, World Cafe Live
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET - Bea Miller, Teragram Ballroom
4;35 PM PT / 7:35 PM ET - Gus Dapperton, (Le) Poisson Rouge
5:15 PM PT / 8:15 PM ET - Phoebe Bridgers, Troubadour
6:00 PM PT / 9 PM ET - Rise Against, Metro
6:25 PM PT / 9:25 PM ET - Brittany Howard, Ryman Auditorium
6:55 PM PT / 9:55 PM ET - Leon Bridges, Troubadour
7:15 PM PT / 10:15 PM ET - Miley Cyrus, Whisky a Go-Go
7:35 PM PT / 10:35 PM ET - Foo Fighters, Troubadour
8:10 PM PT / 11:10 PM ET - The Roots, Apollo
9:20 PM PT / 12:20 AM ET - Portugal. The Man, Crystal Ballroom
10:10 PM PT / 1:10 AM ET - Major Lazer, Gramps
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SUNDAY, OCTOBER 18
2 PM PT / 5 PM ET - Little Big Town, Exit/in
2:35 PM PT / 5:35 PM ET - Brothers Osborne, Mercy Lounge
3:05 PM PT / 6:05 PM ET - Dave Matthews, Jefferson Theater
3:40 PM PT / 6:40 PM ET - Monica, Center Stage
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET - Black Pumas, The Parish
4:10 PM PT / 7:10 PM ET - Nathaniel Rateliff, Boulder Theater
4:50 PM PT / 7:50 PM ET - Reba McEntire, Ryman Auditorium
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET - The Revivalists, Tipitina’s
6:05 PM PT / 9:05 PM ET - The Lumineers, Boulder Theater
For more information about the festival, go to the Save Our Stages Fest website.