Our business has been ordered closed since March 15th. We lost 100% of our revenue and concertgoers keep asking for refunds. Amid the pandemic—and because of the devastating emotional toll it is taking on everyone—we felt an obligation to the community of artists and music lovers we serve. We poured a tremendous amount of energy into keeping 9 Wallis from having to close forever and finding a safe way to bring the healing power of live music to people who need it now more than ever.
Beginning in July we presented safe, socially distanced Drive In Concerts in a 100K+ sq. ft. lot on 80 acres in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. Response was extraordinary. We hosted Grammy winners, rock, blues and soul music legends and young, rising stars. Artists and fans told us they feel better and have more energy after experiencing our shows. For many artists, it was their first pay in over 5 months. Our drive-in shows were living proof of the healing power of live music.
But these shows were shut down. After having presented six safe shows, The Manchester-by-the-Sea Board of Health (BOH) suddenly insisted they were "gatherings" and imposed a limit of 50 people, including performers, crew, staff and fans, rendering them impossible. We respectfully disagreed, pointing to the many drive-in concerts and movies allowed in other MA towns as well as concerts at restaurants and concert cruises out of Boston. We showed how our socially distanced drive-in concerts are safer than most other concerts and drive-in movies--and much safer than outdoor dining at a restaurant. Every police officer who worked our concerts praised our safety precautions. We were never called by a contact tracer and have no reason to suspect that anyone contracted COVID-19 at our concerts.
We contacted our state Senator and Representative, both of whom agreed with our assessment that our concerts were safe and said they would speak with the Governor and Reopening Advisory Board about this. Even the BOH chair admitted the rules were absurd. We figured we had a shot at getting someone at the state to clarify the rules and allow our concerts, so we called and wrote to the Governor and other state officials asking for that clarification and decided to continue with the next two shows hoping to get positive news from someone at the state before the following weekend.
However, on August 28 (the day before our next scheduled show), the BOH levied a fine on us for presenting our last 2 concerts and they threatened further action if we continued. To this day, we have gotten no response to our emails and phone calls from any state official except our Senator and Rep, who agree we were wrongly shut down.
Building a concert venue in an empty lot takes time, energy and money. We made commitments to artists, sound and staging companies, production staff and others. We are honoring those commitments and fighting to keep 9 Wallis afloat until we can present shows indoors once again. We need your help to do that. In order to recoup our costs and losses, pay the artists who got shut down and keep 9 Wallis alive we need $100,000.
Stage, sound, lights, production $26,760.00
Artist Pay $20,000.00
Insurance, rent, other overhead for Drive-In $ 4,036.00
Manchester-by-the-Sea fees and Legal fees $12,050.40
Overhead cost for 9 Wallis $37,153.60
By donating any amount, you are helping to keep live music alive in 2020 and beyond.
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