A new initiative called SF Live will fund a series of outdoor concerts across the city, with Another Planet Entertainment and clubs like Bottom of the Hill putting on the shows.
San Francisco has not done a massive bailout for COVID-ravaged local bar and nightclub industry, but there have been a number of small-bore efforts. There was a $2.5 million tax waiver to nightlife venues last year, a $3 million nightlife recovery fund earlier this year, and the Just Add Music (JAM) permit system does allow for more outside shows. Nightclub owners have described many of these efforts as “too little, too late.”
There’s a little more now, though the funds and the fun won’t start until 2022. KRON4 reports that the city has pulled $2.5 million from the state to put on a new outdoor concert series called SF Live, which according to a press release from the mayor's office, will fund the concerts and pay venues and operators to “curate talent lineups and market the performances.”
“When you see tourist videos for going to San Francisco it’s not the same as New Orleans where there’s someone playing music on every corner,” Bottom of the Hill owner Lynn Schwarz told KRON4. “Why can’t we do that and put music on every corner, why can’t we be the next Austin, why can’t we be Nashville, why can’t we be a world-renowned music city because music drives tourism and people will come for the music.”
There is very little detail on who or what these outdoor concerts will involve. The mayor’s press release for SF Live has a quote from Breed (of course), city attorney David Chiu (who wrangled the funding while still in the state assembly), and a member of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The only non-City Hall types quoted in the release are Bottom of the Hill’s Schwarz, and SF Venue Coalition co-founder Casey Lowdermilk, who’s also an assistant manager for Another Planet Entertainment (the large concert promoter who puts on Outside Lands and manages the Fox Theater, The Independent, and Bill Graham).
So looking at the tea leaves, it is fair to assume that Bottom of the Hill and Another Planet will be some of the organizations who will “curate talent lineups and market the performances.”
But for a venue with tens of thousands in back rent due, this $2.5 million for an outdoor concert series is not going to amount to much once it’s spread around among a number of nightclubs. As the Chronicle points out, the far larger $150 million California Venues Grant Program allows grants of up to $250,000, and that program is taking applications through this Friday, November 19.
Image: Kevin K via Yelp