World Cafe Live Joins National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)

4/16/2020 by Dave Brooks via Billboard // View Full Article

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) will be helmed by Rev. Moose with branding and marketing firm Marauder and so far counts more than 450 national venues as members.

Independent concert promoters and venue operators from across the U.S. are teaming to lobby Congress and the White House for federal aid to help club and theaters hurt by the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) will be helmed by Rev. Moose with branding and marketing firm Marauder and so far counts more than 450 national venues as members. Among them are the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C., World Cafe Live in Philadelphia, Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, the Red River Cultural District in Austin and the Exit/In in Nashville.

“This is like a battle of survival and in order to survive, we need to put our best foot forward and have the most amount of unity and power that we can behind us,” explains Dayna Frank, owner of First Avenue in Minneapolis and NIVA board member.

Concert venues and clubs were among some of the first businesses to close as the coronavirus spread across America and they’ll be likely be among some of the last venues allowed to reopen once the pandemic ends. Already facing pressure from a rapidly consolidating music industry, rising rents and difficulty participating in the financial system, Frank says many venues and their employees are facing an existential crisis as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“It is going to be a long struggle, but if we can all unite and speak with one voice, we’ll be able to help each other,” Frank adds.

Thanks to funding from See Tickets and Lyte, NIVA has hired well known Washington D.C. lobbying and international law firm Akin Gump to represent the venues and promoters who make up the group.

“Even though we were an independent group venue owners and operators, we wanted to hire the strongest possible lobbying group to be able to make our voices heard because we knew that everyone would be seeking to be heard at this point in time,” says Gary Witt, chief executive of Pabst Theater Group in Milwaukee.

Independent promoters have been under represented in the past — groups like the National Association of Concert Promoters have both independent and corporate promoter members and largely focus on negotiating publishing licenses with the royalty rights organizations. In March, the Independent Promoter Alliance was launched by Dave Poe of New York-based Patchwork Present and Ineffable Music and Jessica Gordon Broadberry Entertainment Group to focus on concert promotion.

NIVA is more political in nature and will work to lobby members of Congress and the White House to open federal assistance to small venues and educate lawmakers on the unique needs of concert promoters. Music venues are important economic drivers in their communities, explains Moose who was formally director of CMJ, the New York-based media company that organized the annual CMJ festival and published the CMJ New Music Report.

“Many venues started as a passion project run by sole operators and it helps to know that somebody across the country faces the same pain points and hopefully can offer some guidance,” Moose says. “Or maybe even just a little bit of moral support so you’re not feeling like you’re completely on your own. That’s one of the biggest stress points of being an independent business — you don’t always have somebody to turn to, like a board of directors. You sometimes just have yourself or an in law or something like that.”

Many of the aid packages and loan assistance available don’t work for concert promoters, who will face significant obstacles reopening their businesses, Frank explains.

“The primary goal of our lobbyists is to get language and to update to this act,” she tells Billboard. “Our employees and our community are our family. It’s a job, a lifestyle and defines who we are. We want to protect our employees and lift our community, but to do that we have to be able to reopen. And the way that the law is written now, it’s not going to be very helpful for that. So that’s, that’s why we’re going to D.C.”

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Bridging the Distance: Online Resources from WCL Education

While we’re all practicing safe social distancing, we wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our educational programming – particularly for the young people, home-schooling caregivers, and educators in your world.

As many of you may know, WCL recently merged with our longtime partners LiveConnections to form one combined nonprofit. We’re eager to continue and expand the great educational and community work that LiveConnections has built over the past 12 years – but in the meantime, here’s some content from our archives. These performances are joyful explorations of how music expresses cultures, crosses boundaries, and brings us together.

Below you’ll find Bridging the Distance, a video collection of highlights and full Bridge Sessions, plus a few other favorite moments of music with and for young people – and grownups! Each link features a brief description, an age range, and some curricular connections to help any educators out there.


Artists: Elena Moon Park, violin; Ami Yares, guitar and vocals; Joe Tayoun, percussion

Themes: This session explores the diversity, themes, and spirit of folk music from a variety of cultures, including East Asia, the Middle East, and the U.S.

This excerpt features “Bint el Shabaliya,” a popular Lebanese folk song. The line “Ayyam aal baal bitaaiin itrouh” translates as “But these days are tough and they go”; “tough days come and go.” Resonant for the times! The excerpt also features a fun, interactive drumming exercise with Joe Tayoun.

Curricular connections: Cultural studies; how music expresses identity; lessons on rhythm



Artists: Alex Shaw, pandeiro & berimbau; Francois Zayas, maracas; Doc Gibbs, congas

Themes: Alex Shaw breaks down the “language” of the pandeiro, in an activity students could try at home; Francois Zayas exhibits his mad maracas skills!

Curricular connections: Interactive music/rhythm lessons



Award-winning spoken word poet Denice Frohman tells the story of how her grandparents met and fell in love and married. She speaks it in the voice of her grandmother, set to music by Andrew Lipke, performed by the Aizuri String Quartet.

Themes: Family history, poetry, interdisciplinary connections

Curricular connections: Lessons on poetry, personal narrative, oral history, music/text intersections



We created this video as part of the album “A DAY IN MY LIFE” we made in partnership with Henry H. Houston School in 2016. This is some musical fun for anyone who needs to just shake it out a bit. It features a catchy beat, student-created lyrics, and the entire Houston student body dancing along.

Choreography: Student team “Black Illusion” (Samiah Dean, Samaria Dockery, Arlon Hart, Jasmine O’Connor and Nijah Rogers-Combs, 5th grade) with artist Lela Aisha Jones
Producer: Galea McGregor
Project lead artists/producers: Ezechial Thurman, Houston Music Specialist Teacher; Andrew Lipke & David Bradley, LiveConnections



Artists: Doc Gibbs, Alex Shaw, Francois Zayas, percussion

Theme: A tour of percussion from around the world, from West Africa to the United States

Curricular connections: Cultural studies, world music, lessons on rhythm



Artists: Yumi Kendall, cello; Luigi Mazzocchi, violin; Alex Shaw, percussion

Theme: From Bach to the Jackson 5 & Black-Eyed Peas, music that cultures have danced to over the centuries.

Curricular connections: Cultural studies (links music from different times/cultures), different musical genres (classical, Brazilian, world, pop/rock)



Artists: Lela Aisha Jones, movement; Kwasi Burgee, Alex Shaw, Anssumane Silla—percussion

Theme: The intersection of movement and rhythm through polyrhythms, Brazilian capoeira, West African dance and hip-hop.

Curricular connections: World cultures, lessons in rhythm, dance, hip-hop


Highlights from “Folk Music_ The People’s Music”

Artists: Angie Zator-Nelson, percussion; Lisa Vaupel, violin; Andrew Lipke, guitar and vocals

Theme: All the ways rhythm is a part of our lives, how we hear it, feel it, and create it musically.

Curricular connections: Lessons on different musical styles, lessons on rhythm