National Independent Venue Association, YouTube announce virtual fest to save venues

First Avenue

First Avenue in Minneapolis (photographed on May 19, 2020) will host Dizzy Fae as part of #SOSFEST this month. Photo: Todd Johnson.

YouTube Music and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) today announced the Save Our Stages Festival (#SOSFEST), a virtual three-day music festival with new performances and other content.

SOSFEST will be streamed from Oct. 16 to 18 and will include performances by Foo Fighters, Brittany Howard, Dave Matthews, Dillon Francis, The Roots, Marshmello with Demi Lovato, Kelsea Ballerini, Miley Cyrus, Monica, Reba McEntire, YG and about 30 others. The performances will be filmed in more than 25 independent concert venues throughout the U.S., including the Apollo Theater in New York, Exit/In in Nashville, First Avenue in Minneapolis, the Troubadour in Los Angeles, Tipitina’s in New Orleans and World cafe Live in Philadelphia. San Francisco will be represented by G-Eazy at The Independent.

It will be hosted by Reggie Watts and streamed on NIVA’s YouTube channel. Donations are already being accepted on that channel now.

The goal is to raise awareness of independent concert venues’ dire need for financial support for the federal government and fundraise for NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund. The money will then be distributed to venues on a need-based grant program.

“During this shutdown, all the uncertainties we have and are experiencing have been very unnerving and have caused a high level of despair,” said Christine Karayan, owner of Troubadour in Los Angeles. “That is why we are so happy and beyond grateful to all the fans and music community for banding together to help and to show their support and love to all the independent venues across the country. This is our light and hope in our time of darkness.”

The event is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, which will also donate $1 million to NIVA.

“Live concerts are the heart and soul of the music industry so it’s critical we do everything we can to save independent music venues,” said Lyor Cohen, global head of music at YouTube, in a written statement. “We are honored to partner with NIVA and create #SOSFEST, which gives fans an opportunity to virtually connect with their favorite artists and venues, while doing their part to save these cherished stages. YouTube is in it for the long-haul and we hope you are, too.”

Confirmed #SOSFEST performances are listed below.

The Independent (San Francisco)

  • G-Eazy

Hotel Cafe (Los Angeles)

  • Adam Melchor
  • Alec Benjamin

Teragram Ballroom (Los Angeles)

  • Bea Miller
  • Dillon Francis

Troubadour (Los Angeles)

  • Foo Fighters
  • JP Saxe
  • Leon Bridges
  • Marshmello and Demi Lovato
  • Phoebe Bridgers
  • YG

Exit/In (Nashville)

  • Little Big Town
  • Kelsea Ballerini

Boulder Theater (Boulder, Colo.)

  • The Lumineers
  • Nathaniel Rateliff

Ryman Auditorium (Nashville)

  • Brittany Howard
  • Reba McEntire


  • Black Pumas – The Parish (Austin)
  • Brothers Osborne – Mercy Lounge (Nashville)
  • Cautious Clay – World Cafe Live (Philadelphia)
  • Dave Matthews – Jefferson Theater (Charlottesville, Va.)
  • Dizzy Fae – First Avenue (Minneapolis)
  • Gus Dapperton – Le Poisson Rouge (New York)
  • Jason Mraz – Belly Up (San Diego)
  • Macklemore – Neumos (Seattle)
  • Major Lazer – Gramps (Miami)
  • Miley Cyrus – Whisky a Go Go (Los Angeles)
  • Monica – Center Stage (Atlanta)
  • Portugal. The Man – Crystal Ballroom (Portland, Ore.)
  • The Revivalists – Tipitina’s (New Orleans)
  • Rise Against – Metro (Chicago)
  • The Roots – Apollo Theater (New York)
  • Sebastián Yatra – Amaturo Theater (Ft. Lauderdale)

For more information, visit the festival’s website.

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