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Over the last year, Dayna Frank has done the seemingly impossible, consolidating support among the notoriously competitive independent venues sector and leveraging that collective power to ensure lasting, life-saving action from the federal government.
“The ability to get the SOS Act across the finish line was due to unprecedented cooperation and support for one another across the independent music industry, which was an impressive success on its own,” said Frank, the owner and CEO of Minneapolis promoter First Avenue Productions who became board president of the National Independent Venue Association soon after the pandemic began.
The $15 billion SOS Act passed as part of the spending package signed by President Donald Trump in late December, and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant received an additional $1.25 billion in funding as part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden in early March. Without Frank and her NIVA colleagues, many venues hanging by a thread might’ve shuttered permanently.
“To be cautiously optimistic, we see (the industry) coming back slowly, and then hopefully we’ll experience a historic roaring ‘20s,” Frank said. “Of course, everything depends on cases, best practices being followed, and the rollout of the vaccines, but once we’re able to get to a place where artists can safely route tours across the country, we feel there’s going to be a huge demand from audiences to reconnect with their favorite artists, in their favorite venues.”
Count Frank among that demand. When asked what live events she’s most excited to attend when the industry returns, she’s unequivocal: “All of them.”
— Eric Renner Brown