Chicago music venues struggling to survive amid pandemic

One of the businesses hurting the most during this pandemic is music venues.

Some of the venues say they are not receiving enough help to survive until things get back to normal. 

While restaurants have been allowed to gradually reopen, music venues have not. After almost a year, they are still hurting.

Despite the fact that congress passed a bill to provide them with grants last year, many say they have still not seen a dime.

"It's been really stressful. It would be great if we could go back to work," said Martyr’s Manager Brennan Quinn.

Neighborhood live music venue Martyr's on the North Side can't host concerts, so they're selling pizza to stay afloat.

"We had been planning on doing pizza business, late-night pizza delivery, for years, and then the pandemic kind of forced our hand," said Quinn.

It is a similar circumstance for larger venues like Metro.

"This is the last poster: Saturday, March 14. There was supposed to be a show," said Metro Founder Joe Shanahan.


That poster, which is normally switched out monthly to announce the latest lineups, hasn't been switched out in almost a year.

"We're at...we're at a moment. We need these funds to be released by the government," said Shanahan.

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant was passed in December to help music venues survive, but the application process hasn't even begun.

"I think people thought that once it was passed in December that the money was in our accounts. No. It hasn't happened. The program needs to be turned on," said Shanahan.

"It would be REALLY amazing if the applications would open up, like NOW. Like, tomorrow morning," said Kate Hill, Martyr's Manager. 

Shanahan also leads the Chicago Independent Venue League, which represents 40 music venues in Chicago. He says the best thing you can do in the meantime while they wait for the application process to start is to buy their merchandise and buy their food.