Courtesy Facebook

The website crashed, but now it’s open.

And local venue owners and operators are hoping they, too, will stay open.

Earlier this month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) was slated to begin processing applications for financial aid from venue owners/operators across the country whose businesses had been crushed by the pandemic. The owners/operators seeking a sliver of the $16 billion in available federal funds as part of the Save Our Stages Act encountered a crashed website.


The feds went to work, and the website reopened Monday for applications to Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) monies.

MASS owner Ryan Higgs said the process “went great,” adding that he is “relieved to have it done.”

He’s hoping the funds will come through in a “timely manner.” He wasn’t given any specifics.

Lola’s Trailer Park/Saloon owner Brian Forella is equally pleased. The application process, he said, took at least five hours. He had to upload a lot of documents. “We really did our homework and had everything in order.”

At The Post, music curator Brooks Kendall said that while the Riverside venue itself might not qualify for SVOG funds, his in-house booking company, Afallon Productions, may. “So we’re probably applying for Afallon under SVOG and The Post under the restaurant rescue grant,” referring to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, part of the recently passed American Rescue Plan Act, providing $28.6 billion in grants to restaurants hit hard by the pandemic.

After news of the revamped SBA website came out, the lobbying group behind Save Our Stages, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), issued a statement, saying, “Simply put, this is emergency relief that can’t come too soon. Every single day that passes, small businesses are receiving eviction notices, all the while $16 billion has been waiting for them. This is a lifeline for thousands of independent venues and promoters in big towns and in small communities across the nation. When you’ve had revenue losses of more than 90% and are in fear of going under, having the opportunity to apply for the grant is a relief, no matter what day of the week it is. We’re thankful our members won’t have to wait much longer.”

Now that Gov. Greg Abbott has lifted the mask mandate and new COVID cases continue to drop thanks to President Joe Biden’s aggressive vaccination campaign, shows are back at Fort Worth’s independent venues specializing in progressive, non-retrograde, original rock, hip-hop, and Americana. The show I’m most looking forward to is  at 9pm Thu at MASS with  and . Free show. This is your Thursday night jam.

More local goodness awaits Friday night.  and  will take the MASS stage at 9pm. Tickets are $10 in advance . For both shows, masks are required.

The Post also has some big local-act shows coming up, starting at 8pm Thu with moody singer-songwriter Van Darien. The show is free, unlike the Fri, May 15, concert with The Voice finalist and all-around good local dude Luke Wade. Tickets are $20-80. For both shows, masks are not required but encouraged.

The biggest gig on Lola’s calendar is a blast from the past. On Sat, May 8, Dallas’ Deathray Davies will take the stage with the Ottoman Turks. — Anthony Mariani


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