It has been an unprecedented time for the music industry in light of recent events, with show postponements, tour cancellations, and layoffs piling up as the weeks go by. Amidst everything, a startling reality has emerged: 90% of independent music venues, according to the National Independent Venue Association, are likely to permanently close if they don’t get some form of help.
That’s where you come in. NIVA is asking Congress for funding in order to ensure that your favorite independent venue doesn’t go under, and they need your help to spread the message. You can take action by filling out a simple form on their website to tell your legislators to save our stages.
In the meantime, there are plenty of other great ways to support your favorite venues—several have started offering up limited-edition merch as a direct way to support them. We’ve listed some of the stuff you can grab to help #SaveOurStages below. For a full list of places that could use a hand, check out our list of GoFundMe campaigns for more ways to help.
Planning on a trip to the Bottom Lounge when this is all over? You can grab gift cards over at their website, perfect for birthday cards or stocking stuffers (for those of you that shop for the holidays in May). There’s also a hoodie and a stylish beanie available for you to wear in the cozy confines of their home.
The Empty Bottle has a special social distancing shirt you can currently get, designed by local designer Bill Connors and printed right here in Chicago. There’s a few other great tees over at their online store, as well as a book about the venue, a notebook, and a great collection of old screen-printed gig posters.
Double down in your love for both The Hideout and the U.S. Postal Service with these artist-designed postcards (30% of the sales will go directly to the artists). You can also pay it forward with some authentic-looking Hideout Bucks, tote bags, and other merch. Just don’t misplace your cool new cash for when you get to head back to The Hideout.
In addition to the multiple shirts, posters, and even earbuds that Lincoln Hall & Schubas Tavern have to offer, now would be a great time to pick up a copy of 30/10: A History of Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall, a book released last year documenting the history of the two venues. It’d probably be best if you actually read it, but if you want to look hip and just put it on your coffee table, I guess that’s cool too.
While there’s shirts, totes, enamel pins and more available from Chicago’s iconic concert hall, our favorite piece of merch might just be the custom slip-on Metro sneakers from Vans. Not only do they look pretty sleek, but the net proceeds benefit their staff directly.
There’s a great new Sleeping Village tee available for purchase to help support one of Chicago’s newer (yet quickly beloved) venues—and what more, you can still get a growler via curbside pickup, available from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily. You can also grab a Sleeping Village bandana or even some signed posters with your beer. Not bad at all.
Thalia Hall also has a fundraiser tee available through Barrel Maker Printing (where you can find that Sleeping Village shirt). There’s more excellent merch to be found on the venue’s website, including socks, sweatshirts, beanies, and old posters in both rectangular and ovular shapes. Sadly, the Thalia Hall snow globes are sold out.