(CBS4) – One of the most popular folk rock bands in the world is lending its star power to help pass a bill by Colorado’s Sen. Michael Bennet. The Lumineers’ Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites are throwing their support behind Bennet’s RESTART ACT. It’s aimed at helping thousands of independent concert venues like Boulder Theater that have been silenced by COVID19.

“Without places like this, Lumineers don’t exist, you know, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, all these bands that we love and that impact people’s lives in a meaningful way. That’s what we’re going to really need in 2021,” says Fraites.

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Boulder Theater is about to celebrate it’s 100 year anniversary. It has a storied history from opera house to concert venue. But, while it survived the Great Depression and two World Wars, the coronavirus crisis threatens to shut it down.

(credit: CBS)

“Nothing like screeching halt and shutdown,” says Cheryl Liguori, CEO of Z2 Entertainment. In addition to Boulder Theater, it also owns the Fox and Aggie Theaters. She says not only have they not made money for four months and they’ve had to refund money for concerts they’ve canceled. She says the virus will impact the industry for the next three years.

“None of our business models are based on 10% capacity. Nor will artists be on the road until they can do so safely.”

David Weingarden books all the events for Z2, “I’d say we’re around 600 shows a year.”

He says the federal PPP loans aren’t designed for an industry that won’t reopen until sometime next year. The loans need to be paid back in 12 weeks and are only forgiven if they go to payroll.

“Literally impossible for a company like ours, or an industry like ours, to have everybody back to work on June 30 when nothing is happening, zero,” he said.

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That’s why Sen. Bennet introduced the RESTART Act. It helps businesses hurt most by the pandemic, gives them flexibility in how they spend the money and seven years to pay it back.

“What the restart loan do working capitol hang in stay alive pay mortgages rent get other side end of year.”

The National Independent Venue Association says 90% of venues will close if they don’t get help in the next few months. Liguori says a lot is riding on Bennet’s bill.

“That’s going to be a game changer to help us recover,” Liguori said.

The RESTART Act has bi-partisan support. Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is among the co-sponsors. They’re hoping to pass the bill before Congress’ August recess.

If you’d like to help venues like Boulder Theater, the National Independent Venue Association has set up a fund at SaveOurStages.com.

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