Scott Hammontree has spent the past year working tirelessly to help small entertainment venues statewide.

Senator Debbie Stabenow offered the invitation to Hammontree to attend Tuesday's State of the Union speech for his efforts working with officials to help keep venues like The Intersection afloat during the pandemic shut downs.

Hammontree is the President of the Michigan Independent Venue and Promoter Association, representing 288 venues statewide, all of which took huge financial blows during the long shut down period.

In a video posted to Stabenow's official Twitter page on Tuesday, Hammontree said,

Our revenues were down 90 to 100 percent for twelve months. So we just kind of banded together and formed trade associations to talk to people like yourself who would listen and try to explain our problem. Look, our businesses were suffering and it's not our fault and we don't know what to do, but we know at the end of this, we need to be here.

Hammontree admitted that for many small venues such as his, business isn't back to normal yet, but thanks to the SVOG grants, many were able to stay afloat through the crisis.

The grant Hammontree is referring to is the Shuttered Venues Operators Grant, which was a federal grant designed to keep venues like The Intersection opened during the original shutdown, and subsequent loss of business during surges like the recent Omicron surge, which caused many acts to cancel shows.

“This program has provided our business a lifeline that enabled us to get our business back open. My staff is back to work and we are back to hosting shows. After experiencing over a year of being closed, it has been very emotional seeing our customers back attending live shows and having a great time. Senator Stabenow‘s staff were extremely responsive while we were shut down, and we are forever grateful for the support," Hammontree was quoted on Stabenow's web site. 

In addition to the SVOG, state venues were also aided by the Michigan Stages Survival Grant, which provided $3.5 million in one-time grants to eligible Michigan entertainment venues.

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