The pandemic has hit the local entertainment industry very hard here in West Michigan and now venues and promoters are coming together in seek of financial aid.

One thing I think we can all agree on, is that we miss all the great shows that used to come to Grand Rapids before the pandemic.

G.R. is blessed with some incredible venues ranging from an arena all the way to the local pub and they are all hurting now. If there is no type of aid for these businesses they may not be around when we are able to have live entertainment again.

According to WOOD, The Intersection manager and promoter Scott Hammontree is behind the coalition to lobby for financial aid to save the music industry here in West Michigan.

Hammontree told WOOD,

It's been devastating. It's been one of the toughest challenges I think we've ever faced. It bothers me more for my staff.

I personally have played music in bands for a lifetime and work in radio because of my passion for live music. There were weeks here in Grand Rapids where I would see four to six shows in a week and the last show I saw was Highly Suspect at 20 Monroe Live back in February. I have not gone this long without attending a show in 30 years.

WOOD spoke with co-owner of Tip Top, Ted Smith, who said,

We've had Grammy winners play here, we've had Rock & Roll Hall of Famers.

Unfortunately no venue has had anyone perform since March of this year and if something isn't done soon, there may not be venues for bands to play or promoters to pay to make the shows happen.

The Intersections Hammontree has for a coalition called the Michigan Independent Venue Promoter Association that has 15 members but growing fast. Their purpose is to seek out state and federal funds to keep the venues, promoters and staffs alive so there will be a place for entertainment to return once the pandemic is under control and fans can gather again.

Hopefully the state and federal government take notice and do the right thing because society needs entertainment. It is one of the few things people have to look forward to and escape their own issues.

If you would like to help local venues, a great way to do so is by purchasing merchandise, make a donation or contact your lawmakers.

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