San Francisco announces funding for 2022 concert series to revive entertainment scene

(Photo courtesy of Bottom of the Hill)

San Francisco city officials on Monday unveiled a $2.5 million initiative to help revive the city's entertainment and music industry, still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SF Live Initiative will consist of a series of concerts and live performances presented by local entertainment venues at outdoor parks and plazas happening next year, city officials said.

The $2.5 million in funding comes from state funds allocated to the city through efforts by City Attorney David Chiu, while he served as assemblymember. The funding will cover productions costs for the outdoor events, as well as stipends for the participating entertainment venues, which will be tasked with putting together talent lineups and marketing the performances.

During the pandemic, the city's entertainment venues were forced to temporarily shut down, although due to the sudden loss of business, some closed their doors for good.

"Our local venues are an indispensable part of San Francisco's culture and economy. They're places where longtime residents have been seeing shows for years and where visitors can catch their favorite band when they're in town. They're where people get to know their neighbors, start relationships, and make memories that will last a lifetime," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. "We want to ensure that we're doing everything we can to not only recover from the pandemic but help lead our economic and nightlife recovery."

"San Francisco is famous for our live performances that bring our communities together and make our neighborhoods vibrant," Chiu said. "I was more than happy to secure state funding as an assemblymember to start this initiative and support our live performance venues. The SF Live Initiative should serve as a model for ongoing investment in outdoor live performances."

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Lynn Schwarz, owner of the venue Bottom of the Hill and president of the Independent Venue Alliance said, "We venues have been through so many difficult times, most recently due to the long closure at the hands of the COVID, and having an easy pathway to produce outdoor events is a really exciting development. We need San Francisco to once again be known for its music, so that we can attract tourists, musicians, and venues back to this city and commit to making music a part of our identity."