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Northern Arizona Live Venues, Promoters Receive Long-Awaited COVID-19 Relief Grants

Greenhouse Productions

Live entertainment and music venues across the country are now receiving long-awaited funds from a federal COVID-19 relief program. Several promoters in northern Arizona are among the recipients of the grants seen as a lifeline to the struggling industry. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The $16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was passed by Congress as part of last December’s American Rescue Plan. After months of delays, the federal government recently began distributing the funds and to date about 11,500 venues across the country have received the grants.

In northern Arizona more than $3.6 million has gone to nearly a dozen venues and promoters to cover payroll and other business expenses.

"It’s an absolute game changer," says Matt Ziegler, owner of the Flagstaff-based event company Greenhouse Productions. "We weren’t able to have any income for close to a year-and-a-half as a concert promoter. And venues, independent venues, just got hit so hard. Now I feel like, OK, I think my business is going to survive." 

Most of the grant recipients have until the end of the year to spend the money on their businesses, which Ziegler says may be a challenge as the delta variant is keeping many national acts off the road.

According to a recent report commissioned by Live Nation, in 2019 the concert industry impacted the U.S. economy to a tune of $132 billion and supported more than 900,000 jobs.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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