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Maryland Governor Announces $30M Relief Fund for Music and Entertainment Venues

Gov. Larry Hogan announced in January 2021 the state's $30 million emergency fund for entertainment and music venues across several counties.

The goal of the said fund is to help many of Maryland's music and entertainment venues continue their operations and keep afloat until they can gradually and safely reopen. Gov. Hogan expressed the immediate necessity to continue to do everything they can to support the small business community in Maryland, which is good news for the venues, local patrons, and companies like Cheapo Ticketing that help sell tickets to these venues.

As part of the RELIEF Act of 2021, which will provide $1 Billion of relief emergency funds and tax relief for families and small businesses in the state, the $30 million fund will go to more than 90 for-profit and non-profit venues whose operations have been affected by COVID 19.

The fund's aim is to support the operating and capital costs of live entertainment and performance venues, entertainment promoters, as well as independently-owned movie theaters. It is projected to save more than 800 jobs across the state, specifically in Baltimore and the following counties: Howard County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County.

The RELIEF Act stands for Recovery for the Economy, Livelihoods, Industries, and Families Act. It was announced by the office of Gov. Larry Hogan in January, with the purpose of providing immediate financial relief and tax cuts for Maryland's working families, small businesses, and anyone who lost their job during the pandemic.

The $30 million awards will go to about 49 live entertainment venues in Baltimore City and 12 counties, which includes theaters, arenas, and nightclubs. Additionally, 27 movie theaters that are independently-owned in 11 counties and Baltimore City, as well as 16 live entertainment promoters, are also given the awards.

Venues who are slated to receive the relief funds will get anywhere between $72,600 (which is the smallest figure) to more than $484,000 (which is the largest figure).

Peter Kjome, who is CEO and President of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, one of the venues that received the largest amount of funding, expressed that the money will help them make up for lost revenue, and prevent them from having to close their physical venue. Additionally, Kjome added that the funds will help them pay staff and musicians as well as supporting the community through their music.

Another organization that received emergency funding is the Everyman Theatre. Managing director Marissa LaRose lost about $700,000 in revenue in the fiscal year that ended over the summer. She said that the relief fund will help the organization keep its staff and artists employed as they continue to offer online classes and film performances.

Other places supported by this fund include the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, the Merriweather Port Pavilion, Rams Head Live, the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and the Royal Farms Arena among many others across the state.

The $30 million relief fund entertainment and music venues is the second phase of the RELIEF Act of 2021, which began its first phase by providing $8 million for tourism-related institutions, which also includes zoos, museums, and cultural attractions. The third and final phase of the Act will be provided to other small business industries, as well as for other economic recovery efforts in Baltimore City and the rest of the state.

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