PRESERVE DANCEFLOOR EPIPHANIES: #SAVEOURSTAGES SUPPORT NATIONAL INDEPENDENT LIVE MUSIC VENUES FROM FOLDING TO THE CORONAVIRUS A show at an independent venue is a rite of passage. Do you remember the first time you packed into a mildly musty, dim, dusky venue with 75 strangers and listened to a band you’d never heard of? That first experience hearing music that your parents or the radio didn’t play, that can trigger the beginning of a lifelong chase to join the elect few who can brag, “Yeah, I saw them before their album came out.” For some, that first show may have been at the venue in Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, known to some as Fancy Town. Though we all miss live music and the palpable bond it brings, Meow Wolf has made the decision to push all our remaining 2020 live shows into 2021 and beyond. There is, unfortunately, too much uncertainty around safety for both audience members and touring acts to present live music this year. Some of our fellow independent music venues have closed their doors permanently. We urgently need to #SaveOurStages to help others keep their doors open. “Without venues, we lose a sense of self-discovery, we lose connection in a community intrinsic to music, and weaken subcultures spawned by those spaces. We need these sanctuaries, these dance floors, these community containers, as they have given birth to something bigger than just a stage or building,” says Meow Wolf’s Experience Art Director, Sofie Cruse. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has brought over 2,000 venues (including us) together from all 50 states to fight against the closure of these small venues by lobbying Congress for federal aid with the #SaveOurStages Act and #RestartAct. These acts were submitted to Congress back in July, but do not have a vote date yet, so we urge you to join us in sharing this hashtag and writing your representatives now. Ask your representatives to support the #SaveOurStages bill; it only takes a minute, and your support could provide a lifeline for independent music venues across the country. “It's more than losing a venue,” says Cruse, “it's losing the connective tissue to DJs, performers, promoters, industry professionals, dance floor enthusiasts, and takes away the moments that can form and shape a subculture, town, genre of music, into a lasting language.” Austin-born and raised Cruse was quick to rattle off some of her favorite hometown independent venues: The Mohawk, The Scoot Inn, Cheer Up Charlies, The Parish, Antone’s, Stubb’s, Hotel Vegas to name a few. And we’d never forget Empire Control Room where we took over for three days of art installations and daytime and nighttime dance parties dubbed Fractallage for SXSW 2018. By carsen greene BIG FREEDIA | PHOTO BY SHAYLA BLATCHFORD STRFKR | PHOTO BY KATE RUSSELL

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