Apply for a live music and entertainment venue grant

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What to do

1. Check if your business is eligible

Your business must have had a Place of Entertainment (POE) permit on February 25, 2020. You also must maintain that POE permit.

Operations

The principal function of your business must be offering live entertainment, meaning that you have:

  • Performance and audience spaces
  • Sound system
  • Lighting system

Frequent live entertainment

Before February 25, 2020, you must have provided live entertainment 16 or more days a month on average or every day you were open to the public.

You must commit to reopen, when possible, with live entertainment on 16 or more days per month on average or on every day you are open to the public.

Marketing

You also must market performances at your venue with specific performers identified by name.

Ownership

Your business cannot be owned, managed, or exclusively booked by a publicly traded company.

2. Check our priority criteria

We will use these criteria to prioritize grant payments.

These criteria are not required to apply for this grant.

Our priority criteria are:

  • Been in operation for 15 years
  • Registered on the City Legacy Business Registry 
  • Have a maximum occupancy of less than 1,000 people on your Place of Assembly permit from the Fire Department
  • Be located in and contribute to a Cultural District 
  • Be in imminent danger of closing

Imminent danger of closing means that you would have to close permanently within 90 days.

3. Gather information about your business

We will ask you for:

  • Your Business Account Number (BAN) (If you don't know it, you can look it up)
  • Your maximum occupancy on your Place of Assembly permit from the Fire Department
  • Your City Supplier ID, if you are already registered as a Supplier (you do not need a City Supplier ID in order to apply for this grant)

4. Gather floor plans and take pictures of your space

You must upload these materials with your application:

  • Floor plan or photographs showing the defined performance and audience spaces. (You can use the floor plan used for insurance purposes or local fire inspections.)
  • Photos, receipts, or insurance documents showing sound and lighting systems

If you have multiple images of your floor plans space, zip them together into one file.

5. Gather materials about your past events

You must prove that you provided live entertainment 16 or more days a month on average or every day you were open to the public with:

  • Documents of frequent live entertainment
  • Marketing materials

Documents of frequent live entertainment

If you provide an average of at least 16 days in the month, your documents must show at least 16 days of performances in the month.

If you provide live entertainment every day your business is open to the public, your documents must show all the performances in the month.

These documents can be from January 2019 to February 2020.

Documents can include:

  • Box office or ticketing reports with dates, artists or events, ticket prices, and number of tickets sold
  • Written agreements or contracts in advance with scheduled performers that establish a guaranteed fee or percentage of ticket sales. (An email thread works as an agreement or contract.)
  • Other documents that show you provided live entertainment on average at least 16 days a month or every day you were open to the public

If you have multiple images or documents, zip them together into one file. You will upload these with your application.

Marketing materials

Scan or take screenshots of 1 month of marketing materials. You may pick any 1 month between January 2019 and February 2020 to show marketing materials.

Include materials that list public-facing entertainment events. They must show event titles with specific performers, show times, and dates. 

Some examples are:

  • Print or electronic advertising
  • Paid receipts for advertising
  • Performance calendar
  • Social media pages 

You will upload these with your application.

If you have multiple images of your marketing materials, zip them together into one file.

6. Gather other documents

These are optional.

Imminent danger of closing

If you are in imminent danger of closing, you will have the option to certify that you would have to close within 90 days.

You cannot be considered in “imminent danger of closure” if the venue is owned, in whole or in part, managed, or exclusively booked by any organization that:

  • Owns or operates venues in more than 1 country
  • Owns or operates venues in more than 2 states
  • Has more than 150 employees as of February 25, 2020 between all of its subsidiaries and affiliates

If your business operates on City-owned property or receives general operating financial support from the City, it may be subject to heightened scrutiny.

Supporting documentation may help show that you are in danger of closing and cannot cover 3 months of total expenses with your cash on hand and monthly income, or you are facing other circumstances like a loan coming due.

Gather documents such as an income statement and bank statements. You may upload these with your application.

Cultural District

We will ask you which Cultural District you are in, if applicable, and how you contribute to the district historically or economically.

Supporting documentation may help show your historical or economic role in your Cultural District.

This documentation could be:

  • Cultural, History, Housing and Economic Sustainability Strategy Report (CHESS report)
  • Asset mapping
  • Other cultural heritage initiative
  • Media articles
  • Other statements showing the economic impact of your business on the Cultural District

You may upload these with your application.

7. Check our legal agreements

The business owner must apply for the grant.

To apply, you must also agree that:

  • Your business is struggling due to COVID-19 related income loss or expenses
  • You are maintaining your lease or ownership of the venue space
  • You intend to maintain your lease or ownership of the venue space in the future for live entertainment
  • All information on your application is accurate

8. Apply

We will ask you a few questions to check if you are eligible for the grant.

You must upload your photos and documents and agree to our legal terms.

This will take about 15 minutes.

We will send you a confirmation email.

9. Wait for our email

We will email you by May 26, 2021 to let you know the status of your application.

Grant definitions

Eligible venue determination

Your venue must have:

  • Defined performance space
  • Defined audience space
  • Sound system
  • Lighting system

Defined performance space

A defined performance space is a distinct physical space for live entertainment programming. This may be drama, music, dance, comedy, or other live performing arts activity.

Defined audience space

A defined audience space is a distinct physical area in which the audience experiences live entertainment programming from the performance space.

Sound system

Your venue must have a sound system with mixing equipment and a public address (PA) system.

“Mixing equipment” is a sound mixer that mixes 2 or more audio signals together, provides one or more output signals, allows adjustment of levels and enhancement of sound with equalization and effects, and creates monitor feeds.

A “public address system” is an electronic system with at least 1 microphone, amplifier, and loudspeaker that increases the volume of a human voice, musical instrument, or other acoustic sound source or recorded sound or music.

Lighting system

A lighting system is a structure that holds lights in place for illuminating a stage or other defined performance space.

Priority criteria determination

Imminent danger of closing

A business is considered in “imminent danger of closure” if its combined monthly expenses and monthly income show that its cash on hand is unable to cover three months of its total expenses, or other circumstances (such as a loan coming due) that would force the business to permanently close within 90 days.

You cannot be considered in “imminent danger of closure” if the venue is owned, in whole or in part, managed, or exclusively booked by any organization that:

  • Owns or operates venues in more than 1 country
  • Owns or operates venues in more than 2 states
  • Has more than 150 employees as of February 25, 2020 between all of its subsidiaries and affiliates

If your business operates on City-owned property or receives general operating financial support from the City, it may be subject to heightened scrutiny.

Cultural Districts

The venue has historical importance to, or in recent years has been an important economic force in, one or more Cultural Districts, as defined in Chapter 107 of the Administrative Code.

See our map of Cultural Districts.

Legacy Businesses

The venue is a “Legacy Business” under Section 2A.242 of the Administrative Code. See the Legacy Business Registry.

Place of Assembly permit

If a venue has an occupancy of less than 1,000 people, it will qualify for priority criteria.

The venue would need to have a maximum occupancy of less than 1,000 patrons on the most recent Place of Assembly permit issued for the venue under Chapter 1 of the Fire Code.

What is the San Francisco Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund?

The City created the San Francisco Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund (the “Venue Fund”) in early 2021 to provide financial support to San Francisco-based live music and entertainment venues to prevent their permanent closure due to the pressures of the COVID 19 pandemic.

The San Francisco Office of Small Business is administering the Venue Fund to provide grants to Eligible Venues, with priority for distribution to Eligible Venues that meet 2 or more additional criteria.

Get help

Phone

Office of Small Business

Last updated May 06, 2021