Two-day music festival fundraiser planned to support struggling music venues

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – A local musician is organizing a two-day music festival to raise money for venues that are struggling financially amid the pandemic.

“A lot of our local venues are in danger of closing completely because they can’t open to full capacity,” said Jessica Salemi Sinclair, the organizer of the Viva La Venue music festival.

The outdoor festival will be held at Platforms Dance Club on September 25-26.

There are several coronavirus safety precautions in place for the festival. There will be temperature checks at the door, contact tracing information will be taken, masks and social distancing will be enforced, and all parties will be separated by plexiglass dividers. Additionally, no one will be able to go up to the bar to order drinks.

“Waitresses will come and serve everyone,” said Salemi Sinclair.

Tickets for Friday, September 25, are $20. Six bands will perform on Friday, doors open at 5:00 p.m.

Tickets for Saturday, September 26, are $25. 13 bands will perform on Saturday, doors open at 12:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to four music venues that are struggling to stay open: Dusk, Askew, News Cafe, and The Parlour.

“It’s been very, very difficult,” said Gregory Rourke, owner of The Parlour.

His music venue in Providence closed down in March due to the pandemic and just reopened two weeks ago. However, it’s not business as usual. The venue is too small to safely have live music indoors, and the outdoor space is limited to the sidewalk.

To stay afloat in the meantime, Rourke is selling snacks and drinks through the venue’s to-go window.

“Fans and customers have been so supportive. I would be closed right now if it wasn’t for their support,” said Rourke.

He was touched to hear that some of the proceeds from Viva La Venue would go to his business.

“It’s tough to be in a position where you have to ask for so much help. But to have a community that lifts you up and understands, is huge ,” said Rourke. “I think it’s beautiful that we’re all helping each other.”

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island