A number of metro Phoenix music venues forced to temporarily close their doors due to the new coronavirus are urging music fans to help get their employees through this period of social distancing.
The Marquee Theatre, Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar have started employee funds on GoFundMe. Rhythm Room is asking for Venmo donations to help its employees. The Lost Leaf shared a link to a virtual tip jar. And the Rebel Lounge is selling $20 T-shirts.
Putting the entire concert industry on hold has obviously had a major impact on performers, venues and promoters. But it’s also left the people they employ without a source of income, from production staff to bartenders, servers, stagehands, techs, box office staff, security and more.
The 500-capacity Crescent Ballroom and 250-capacity Valley Bar employ a staff of more than 100 between the two venues, for instance.
Marquee Theatre owner Tom LaPenna and his wife Judy started a fundraiser for Marquee employees through GoFundMe on Wednesday, March 25.
“Even though events will return to town at some later date, all of our employees are feeling the pain,” the post on the fundraiser page says. “They have been out of work since March 14. At this point, it looks like they will be out of work till mid-summer.”
The Marquee is offering potential donors $2 in credit at the venue for every dollar donated. Credit can be used through Dec. 31, 2021.
By Friday afternoon, the fund had raised $10,140 toward its goal of $50,000.
Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World suggested Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar start an employee fund on GoFundMe.
Adkins and Jimmy Eat World have worked with Charlie Levy of Stateside Presents, who owns both venues, for years.
In an Instagram post, Adkins shared a photo of himself at Crescent and wrote that what we’re going through at the moment can feel overwhelming but “if you just pick something small you CAN do,” it will be OK.
“We are going to be posting/streaming a short acoustic (electric?) session every Friday,” he added, which will feature information on how you can “tip” the staff “of a small business that has supported our band over the years.”
In a Wednesday Facebook post, Crescent and Valley Bar shared a link to their GoFundMe, saying the venues have been doing “everything we can” to support their staff in “these strange and difficult times” and asking “the community we love” to join them in that effort by donating to their fund.
Those venues exist, the note went on to read, “because of the incredible and hard-working team that so proudly carries our names. … We love these people.”
The GoFundMe was started on Wednesday, March 25. By Friday afternoon, the fund had raised $2,200 of its $50,000 goal.
On Tuesday, March 24, Rhythm Room posted a note on Facebook asking for donations to support its staff through its Venmo account.
“For a lot of our staff, this is their only job and source of income,” it read. “If you would like to donate to help keep our staff afloat during these rough times, here is where you can donate. Thanks for your love and support throughout the years and we can’t wait to open our doors again and celebrate with all of you.”
The Lost Leaf shared a link on Facebook on Sunday, March 22, to a “virtual tip jar,” a Google spreadsheet with information on how to help employees at various establishments throughout the Valley.
“Thank you for your business as we have supported artists and musicians by taking no commission and never charging a cover for nearly 14 years,” the note reads. “Now more then ever our staff, artists, & musicians we’ve supported need your support due to the closure and cancellations for the unforeseen future.”
The note went on to encourage supporting bands through Bandcamp and live feeds, supporting artists by purchasing their art and checking out a Linktree page with other resources.
The Rebel Lounge took a different approach, selling a new Rebel Lounge T-shirt, designed by Hamster Labs, that’s available through Acme Prints online.
A message sent to the venue’s mailing list said, “It is uncertain when we will be able to open our doors again, so we wanted to find a way to support our awesome staff during this time. Many of you have generously reached out expressing an interest in helping out and supporting our team during this time, and we are pleased to share with you a great way to do exactly that.”
Proceeds from sales of T-shirts go directly to Rebel Lounge staff, including box office staff, bartenders, security, sound engineers and other day-to-day staff who rely on regular programming for work.
Purchase options range from $20 for a T-shirt or $25 for a shirt and concert ticket that’s good for any show that isn’t sold out to a $100 package that includes your message on the Rebel Lounge marquee, which the venue will post a photo of on Instagram, a coffee mug and two pairs of tickets.