10 Mile Music Hall struggles to stay afloat, refund tickets
Independent venues push for government relief
FRISCO — While some businesses are seeing an uptick in commerce as health restrictions loosen, others are still dead in the water. Independent music venues were among the first establishments to close due to the coronavirus pandemic and they likely will be the last to fully reopen until there is a vaccine.
The Troubadour in Los Angeles — which had acts like Elton John, Neil Young and Johnny Cash grace its stage over the years — is just one iconic venue that could close for good as well as Frisco’s 10 Mile Music Hall.
“Our situation is dire,” said Chris Thompson, chief financial officer of 10 Mile Music Hall. Thompson said they lost “hundreds of thousands of dollars” having postponed 20 shows since the pandemic hit during the venue’s busy March season.
The venue is willing to refund ticket holders who can’t make the new dates, whenever those might be, yet while older or larger venues might have had the reserves to swiftly refund tickets, the 2-year-old 10 Mile isn’t so fortunate. 10 Mile still has to pay expenses like rent and insurance as if it was fully operational even though there has been limited to no revenue these past four months.
“What working capital we did have laying around dissipated when we lost our spring concert calendar,” Thompson said.
Thompson likened the business’s cash flow to a now frozen game of musical chairs. Though it varies from concert to concert, he said money moves from the ticket buyer and is then split among promoters, venues, management, agents and artists as money is spent on deposits, rentals, travel and marketing.
Once the concert happens, it triggers a clearinghouse with the funds being transferred to the respective parties as 10 Mile earns its income from the bar.
“But when the music stops, some people want to leave the party, some people want to stay at the party, some people are stuck at the party,” Thompson said. “But if you just start to pull pieces out, it’s just not that clear where that money or piece comes from.”
Read the full story via The Summit Daily.