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SAN FRANCISCO, CA, June 25, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Independent Music Venue Alliance (IMVA) is bringing together over twenty artists for "Because The Night," a three-hour livestream event to help raise funds for San Francisco Bay Area nightlife.
On June 28, Isabella Rossellini, Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, Yo La Tengo and several others submitted video footage premiering on the livestream, hosted by the new live streaming channel Light Rail Station. (A full list of performers is below.)
Parker Gibbs organized the Webathon on behalf of the IMVA, which represents seven Bay Area music venues -- The Chapel, The Make Out Room, The Bottom of the Hill, The Knockout, The El Rio, Amados and Neck of the Woods. All seven of these clubs are struggling to stay open as most did not receive the PPP loans and those that did returned the funds since 75 percent is required to go to payroll. All venues are closed until the final phase of the business rollouts, which many are speculating will not happen this year.
"I have seen some of the most iconic venues in this city close over the past 30 years, and when we saw that there was no financial assistance for venues being considered from the state or local governments, we decided to form an alliance so we would have strength in numbers, and do everything in our power to save those that are still left," Gibbs said. "This city cannot withstand another exodus of creatives and musicians, so we decided to have a webathon where we could ask our neighbors to lend a hand."
Gibbs and the IMVA put out the call for performers and several signed up to contribute videos for the webathon. The only instructions: "Do whatever you want."
"We want to be as surprised as the audience tuning in," Gibbs said.
All the performers promise to surprise their viewers, though some artists have hinted at what they'll be doing. For example, Jonathan Richman is calling in with a poem he wrote just for the occasion, and a special "guest" will be Skyping in during Mark Eitzel's Q&A.
Artists like Eitzel say they signed up because they know how important it is to keep music venues alive in the Bay Area.
"I love San Francisco. I have seen too many clubs disappear over the years that I have been performing," Eitzel said. "The thought of SF without a Bottom of the Hill or a Make Out Room would be one more nail in the coffin of this city. These venues all need to be saved."
Viewers can catch the Webathon on Facebook and YouTube. Because the coronavirus still plagues the country, the company hosting the Webathon, Light Rail Station plans to be extra cautious in the studio, using a skeleton crew and being vigilant with social distancing -- there won't be a studio audience, and performers will enter through a seperate entrance. Artist arrival times are staggered and there will be no sharing mics.
"Also, the studio will be on complete lockdown leading up to these performances, and if you aren't on stage performing or hosting, you better bet your ass you will be wearing a mask," Gibbs said. "We will be observing 6 feet of social distancing at all times."
The IMVA hopes to raise at least $2 million and Gibbs acknowledges it will take more than just this one Webathon. The goal is to cover the venues' rent, their staff, their vendors and any other operating costs through October. It's a lot of money to raise in the brutally expensive San Francisco, but the IMVA is on a mission.
"SF is a small city. If we don't save our venues, when this is all over, there won't be any live music to return to," Gibbs said. "This is a serious issue that is happening in every city across the USA and around the world and we wanted people to know how important these venues are to the fabric of our communities."
Fred Barnes, general manager of the San Francisco venue The Chapel, supported Gibbs's comments.
"Every great band got their start at a small indie venue, from the Who to Thee Oh Sees," Barnes said. "It's where the artists and the freaks can create and refine their art. It's where communities can come together over the universal love of music. These venues are the soul of our cities."
Performers include Isabella Rosellini, Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Mark Eitzel, Yo La Tengo, Jonathan Richman, Brigid Dawson, Meg Baird, Tom Hunting (Exodus), Jon Langford (Mekons), Con Brio, Kelley Stoltz & Allyson Baker, Joel Robinow (Once & Future Band), Carletta Sue Kay, Sylvie Simmons, John Dwyer (Oh Sees), Spike Slawson (Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), Chuck Prophet, Everyone Is Dirty, Hillary Ronen, and many more surprises.
About Light Rail Station: Started by veteran music producer Elton Cunniffe with help from promoter Parker Gibbs, Light Rail Station is a live streaming channel based at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco, Calif. The station began producing live streaming performances back in January of this year and several of its streams garnered over 100,000 views. Follow Light Rail Station on Facebook: facebook.com/lightrailstation. On YouTube: youtube.com/c/LightRailStation
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