First-Ever National Independent Venue Association Conference Coming to Cleveland in July

NIVA advocacy team at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum prior to being honored at the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. - Rustin McCann
Rustin McCann
NIVA advocacy team at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum prior to being honored at the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has just announced that its first-ever national members conference will come to Cleveland in July.

Formed in 2020 when the pandemic shuttered venues across the country, NIVA sought to save the independent live concert, comedy, promoter, and festival industry from collapse

The conference will take place on July 11 and 12.

The conference will focus on the future of the live industry and its varied interest groups that have benefited from the existence of the trade organization that formed at the onset of COVID-19 shutdowns. The conference will conclude with the inaugural Independent Awards Formal (Independent AF) at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We started NIVA to help independent venues and promoters survive the pandemic,” says NIVA Co-Founder and Executive Director Rev. Moose in a press release. “Together we fought for and won the passage of the Save Our Stages Act, which resulted in a historic $16 billion emergency relief grant program. Though the impetus was a crisis response, we’ve planned from the very beginning to continue growing NIVA into a full-service trade organization that serves its membership today and in the future. Our mantra from the start was ‘first we survive, then we thrive.’ We’re excited to bring the live industry together in a new way that is truly impactful while highlighting the importance of connectivity. Our goal is to create positive momentum within the touring and live industry, altering the course beyond the pandemic and providing the necessary tools for our members to succeed while returning to in-person events and entertainment.”

“Independent venues are a vital part of rock 'n' roll. For all of us who love this music, these venues have greatly impacted our lives,” says Rock Hall President and CEO Greg Harris. “We are honored to welcome NIVA’s members to Cleveland as we host the first-ever NIVA Independent Awards Formal at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to recognize those who work tirelessly to help this music ecosystem thrive. Our shared vision is to champion and support live music and its power to enrich local culture and communities. It connects us all.”

A daytime program will feature curated events addressing the present and future state of the live industry. There will be panels with industry professionals, specialized educational sessions, brand activations, and ample networking opportunities for attendees. Programming topics include safety, inclusion, diversity, equality, and accessibility, booking, ticketing, and marketing. The events will take place in multiple NIVA-member venues around town. During the evenings, conference attendees can take advantage of Independent Venue Week’s concert programming.

“We have spent an enormous amount of time together virtually on screens over the past two years and formed life-long relationships as a result,” says Happy Dog owner Sean Watterson, who’s also Vice President of NIVA’s Great Lakes Chapter. “It gives me great pride to welcome all our members and extended community to Cleveland. Our city has a long history of industry-defining moments, and NIVA ’22’s birth here will be the newest moment in history for us to celebrate.”

A black-tie gala for members and guests, the NIVA Independent Awards Formal, will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 11, at the Rock Hall.
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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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