FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Independent venues were the first to close due to the pandemic and venue management says they will be the last to open. Central Valley venues talk about how they’ve signed on to the “Save Our Stages” initiative.
“This will provide hopefully independent funding to venues such as ours who have been completely shuttered,” said Vikky Escobedo, the executive director for Visalia FOX theatre.
Visalia Fox Theatre has a 90-year history in Visalia and Escobedo says they’ll lose hundreds of thousands of dollars because of the pandemic. In Fresno, the general manager of Fulton 55, Tony Martin, says the closing of venues has a broad impact and are intertwined with a variety of other businesses.
“This industry is pretty unique where it bleeds into so many other industries. We help the restaurant industry, we help the hotel industry and so there’s so many people out of work because our stages are shut down.”
NIVA began its efforts in April of this year and hopes to shine a light on the dark stages and gain the support of the government and the public will see the importance of the initiative.
“To have an initiative like this, especially on a national level is absolutely phenomenal that they’re able to put this together and get as many interested parties that they have thus far,” Tony Sanders said, the founder of Shine! Theatre in Fresno’s Tower district.
There are nearly 2,000 venues in the nationwide participating in the campaign with nearly 30 here in the Central Valley.