Alberta creates grant for musicians, music venues ahead of eventual return of live shows
Calgarian Matt Masters has found new business offering ‘curbside concerts’ which abide by physical distancing rules while performing for small live audiences. (file)
CALGARY -- Musicians and music venues in Alberta will receive some help from the province in preparation for the day when concerts are permitted again.
The provincial government's Stabilize Live Music Grant will offer $1,500 to musicians and up to $25,000 to for-profit music venues. A total of $2 million will be available, using funds allocated from the province's $15 million stabilize program in Budget 2021.
"The live music industry is critical to our quality of life and our economic recovery, and we need to maintain the sector’s viability in these uncertain times in order to see future growth," said Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Leela Sharon Aheer in a statement released Friday.
"Once the province can reopen, there will be a pent-up demand for live music and we need to make sure the live music industry can meet that demand. This investment will allow Albertans to safely enjoy live performances and ensure our amazing artists return to the stage stronger than ever."
Alberta Music will administer the grant and applications will be accepted on the organization's website beginning May 17.
The provincial NDP say the grant program fails to assist a struggling industry with immediate needs as most venues currently have minimal or no revenue streams.
"Once again the UCP are steps behind what industry in the province needs," said NDP Critic for Culture Nicole Goehring. "We’re 14 months into the pandemic. Venues and live event spaces have already been pivoting their projects, platforms and services to respond to the pandemic.
"The industry has been clear with the UCP that they are in need of pandemic support to make it through to the other side. I’m concerned that these venues, which provide a huge boost to our economy, could be in serious jeopardy."
According to the NDP, an estimated 16 live music venues in Alberta have permanently shuttered since the start of the pandemic.