New relief program announced for Houston’s musicians, music venues during pandemic


HOUSTON – City officials announced a new relief program Wednesday for Houston’s musicians and music venues that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and members of the Houston City Council said $3 million of the city’s allocated CARES Act 2020 funds will fund the Musicians and Music Venues Economic Relief Program.

Eligible musicians can receive up to $5,000 and eligible music venues can receive up to $50,000 or $100,000, depending on the budget size, according to a press release.

“As a city, we have provided rental assistance and supported small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic," Turner said. "Now, we will focus on Houston’s musicians. Music venues and iconic performance spaces are a big part of our city and an important segment of Houston’s cultural life. They were delivering great live music before the pandemic, and we want them to be able to do that again, as soon as they can, and by being safe.”

The program was made after the coronavirus pandemic forced many local venues to close or postpone events. The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs created the program as a resource for local musicians and for-profit and non-profit music venues to sustain their operations during and after the pandemic, according to a press release.

“During a community meeting hosted by MOCA and the Texas Music Office, we heard from a diverse group of Houstonians in the music industry that one of the most pressing concerns is survival,” said Debbie McNulty, director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs. “Beyond economic relief support, MOCA is actively looking at other forms of assistance for our Houston music sector.”

To apply for the program, applicants must complete an online form by 5 p.m. Nov. 25.

To qualify, applicants:

  • Must be a live music venue whose principal place of business is located within the City of Houston’s city limits.
  • Must be a musician whose principal residence is located within the City of Houston’s city limits.
  • Must provide evidence of how business revenue has significantly decreased because of government restrictions or other challenges due to COVID-19.
  • Must be in good standing with City requirements (e.g., property taxes, personal property, grounds for debarment, etc.).

Along with the requirements, a weighted score will be used to ensure equal distribution of funds. Applications can expect to be ranked by objective scores and funding will be applied until the program runs out of funding, according to the release.

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