Harlingen, Texas (KVEO)-Live music venue owners and theaters, shuttered since March due to pandemic related shutdowns, are counting on funding allocated in Congress’ latest COVID-19 relief bill.
The Save Our Stages act, which was signed into law Sunday night by President Donald Trump, will benefit one local McAllen theater.
Cine El Rey is a privately own theater that opened in the 40’s. Its doors welcome new comers and loyal patrons to enjoy live entertainment, but this year COVI-19 kept it closed and with an unknown future.
“Right now, the biggest fear is that live nation or these big corporations will buy up all these independent venues which will make it very hard for new artist to get on this stage,” said co-owner Bert Guerra.
Known to many, Guerra says they struggled this year and did not qualify for any small business loans apart of the initial COVID-19 relief. He says this act is small victory for a bigger battle.
Guerra, a former musician, says he’s never had to lobby for anything, until now.
“I was fortunate to work with our representatives: Gonzalez, Cuellar, and Vela and they all agreed to co-sign the bill when it first came out,” said Guerra. “Which is them basically saying yes before it actually goes to a vote.”
Guerra became a part of the National Independent Venue association, where he worked with other venues for 8-months on the Save Our Stages Act.
Many independent venues didn’t qualify for small business loans, because “we have a space that hundreds of people work out of, we don’t have full-time employees,” said Guerra.
U.S Senator John Cornyn used Cine El Rey as an example when campaigning for this act.
Cine El Rey “is iconic because of the Mexican actors that used to come and perform here like Tin-Tan, Pedro Infante and Cantinflas that performed on this very stage,” said Guerra.
Guerra says they are only planning virtual events and the foreseeable future is still unknown for independent theatres.
“It’s just a little bit of help for a very big problem, but it does give us hope,” said Guerra.