New Orleans announces launch of 'reopen every venue safely' pilot program

New Orleans

REVS is a campaign to develop and disseminate action plans and budgets rooted in a hyper-pragmatic understanding of the challenges ahead.

The Mayor's Office of Cultural Economy has announced the launch of 'Reopen Every Venue Safely' (REVS), an international initiative aimed at promoting best practices, work plans and protocols to ensure music venues are able to open as quickly and safely as possible. This will align with phased reopening plans, announced earlier during Tuesday's press conference.

REVS is a campaign to develop and disseminate action plans and budgets rooted in a hyper-pragmatic understanding of the challenges ahead. Music Cities Together is supporting eight United States pilot communities with technical assistance and mentorship as they develop their own local reopening plans. New Orleans has been selected as a pilot community in the United States in addition to King County/Seattle, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Chicago, Austin and Portland, Oregon.

Working as a national cohort, these pilot communities will share information and resources as they develop their locally based work plans and protocols. Later this year, these pilot plans will be made available to public officials and venues in other communities in an effort to share best practices and learning.

Parallel REVS initiatives are operating in Canada and the United Kingdom.

This level of coordination and collaboration will be new for most communities. REVS will be guided by a national leadership council of government officials, public health experts, venue leadership and communications experts to develop best practices, identify and support pilot cities and bring the project to national scale. "Live music and musicians make up the heart of New Orleans’ livelihood and economy. As we move towards reopening our economy, we must do so in a coordinated effort to effectively support these businesses and our people," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. "Being a part of the REVS initiative will allow our city the support we need to reopen music venues in a thoughtful and safe way." "Music venues with an uphill stance are up for the challenges of reopening. We recognize that these uncertain times carry additional responsibilities and costs," said Lisa Alexis, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy. "We also understand, it is unrealistic, and in some ways irresponsible, to blithely move ahead and assume venues will be in a position to open without an aggressive, integrated plan to anticipate the resources and strategies necessary to successfully – and safely – reopen our live music economy."

Music Venue Trust co-founder Mark Davyd said, "In this moment of crises for venues it is all hands on deck. We look forward to sharing strategies with our colleagues in the US and Canada to learn how we best manage this unprecedented challenge as a community."

Music Cities Together’s Michael Bracy said, "We all want live music back as quickly and safely as possible. This can only happen through unprecedented levels of communication and partnership between local governments, venues and communications experts to make sure venues are safe and music workers and audiences are protected."

MCT’s Don Pitts added, "Local governments, including elected officials, public health experts and creative industries advocates, are responsible for implementing and deploying reopening strategies in alignment with Federal, State and Regional guidelines. For live music to reopen, government officials require direct and coordinated access to venue owners and other music businesses to ensure they are included in reopening strategies."

REVS is a project of Music Cities Together and is overseen by a leadership team including Michael Bracy, Don Pitts, Kate Becker, Dani Grant, Ashlye Keaton and Kwende Kefentse. The goal of MCT is to strengthen mentorship and relationships between public officials, musicians, music industry leaders, advocates and researchers interested in supporting local music ecosystems.

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