NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Four months after passing in Washington, additional funding is available this morning for our local music venues.

These grants were part of the $900 billion COVID relief package passed in December.

About $15 billion is allocated for entertainment and performing arts venues, and applications to get that money finally open Thursday morning.

For Nashville venues, empty stages have been the reality for over a year.

Venues like the Station Inn have found ways to pivot — streaming music and hosting small shows when possible.

“We took the philosophy of ‘keep the music going, no matter what,’” said Jeff Brown, marketing director at the Station Inn.

But keeping the music going, doesn't come with the normal revenue.

“We had a 90 percent revenue loss on the year,” Brown said.

In September, Metro Council approved $2 million in CARES Act funding for music venues, telling News4 of 20 eligible applicants, the average grant was about $48,000.

"That was a huge lifeline,” said Erin Gameson, general manager of Mercy Lounge.

But that lifeline was almost six months ago.

The Mercy Lounge and Station Inn have been patiently waiting for new assistance on the federal level.

Passed in December, applications finally open Thursday to receive shuttered venue operator grants.

“Just like every other performance venue in the country, we’re all going to be applying at the same time on April 8,” Brown said.

Tennessee businesses are expected to receive $325 million in funding, money that can hopefully pay the bills, until the stages can be filled again.

“When you’ve been going this long in this manner, you’re just happy to see that it’s coming and ready to get the applications and get the funding in and get back to business,” Gameson said. "I’m going to be able to bring the stuff back which is huge.”

These grants will be administered through the SBA.

Another note — although these venues say these grants help them pay the bills, they truly believe it’s the fans who have made donations and continued to buy merchandise that have kept them afloat.

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