COVID hardship money now available for local musicians

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It’s been a long, hard road for musicians in the Live Music Capital of the World.

Driving the news: Through Jan. 28, local professional musicians, independent promoters and music industry workers facing hardships due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for $2,000 grants.

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By the numbers: Last summer, the Austin City Council decided to allocate $4 million of federal American Rescue Plan Act money to support the local music industry.

  • Of that, $1.5 million was distributed last year, and this grant program uses another $2.3 million from that basket.

What they’re saying: The funds help “ensure workers in this vital sector can afford immediate needs like rent and groceries,” Veronica Briseño, chief economic recovery officer for the City of Austin, said.

Learn more: An overview of the application process, scoring matrix and eligibility requirements can be viewed at

Our thought bubble: Soaring rent, health insurance shortfalls and expensive gig parking were challenges for musicians pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 has presented an existential challenge to live music as clubs have been forced to go dark or cancel shows — and concert-goers think twice about enjoying shows in real life.

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