PORTLAND, Maine — Popular Portland live music venue Port City Music Hall will not survive the coronavirus pandemic, the venue said on Wednesday. In social media posts, the venue announced it would permanently close due to the pandemic, saying, “Port City Music Hall, unfortunately, cannot survive this crisis without revenue — and no end in sight.”
Music venues across Maine and the U.S. were among the first businesses to close at the onset of the pandemic given the nature of the events and the health concerns they present.
Since the Port City Music Hall opened eight years ago, countless bands have played at the venue, including Maggie Rogers, Father John Misty, The Ghost of Paul Revere, and many more. The last show that will ever be played at the venue: Against Me! on March 12, 2020.
In its announcement, Port City Music Hall urged people to write to their representatives and “demand relief for all of the independent performing arts venues struggling to survive.
“Sadly, if there isn’t some industry-targeted relief soon we will not be the last venue to close its doors in Maine,” the venue wrote.
The closure comes on the same day U.S. Senators introduced bipartisan legislation to support independent live music venues affected by COVID-19. The Our Stages Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), would provide assistance for independent live music venue operators in Maine and across the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a co-sponsor of the bill.
The grants, administered by the Small Business Administration, would provide six months of financial support to help keep venues afloat and pay employees.
“Throughout Maine, theaters, concert halls, and other small entertainment venues bring people together, enhance our culture, and strengthen our communities,” Collins said in a statement. “This bipartisan bill would provide critical support for this important industry that has suffered significant setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Save Our Stages Act is endorsed by the ArtsEngageME, as well as the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO). Port City Music Hall linked to NIVA so people can tell their legislators to help save music venues.
Susan Collins issued the following statement on the Port City Music Hall:
"The closure of Port City Music Hall, which has made countless contributions to Portland’s vibrant live music scene, is deeply unfortunate news. It also underscores the urgent need for Congress to pass the Save Our Stages Act I co-sponsored to provide targeted financial relief for small entertainment venues that are struggling with lost ticket sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”