Tranzfusion 'rambles on' the Freeman Stage

Legendary Ocean City band Tranzfusion gets the spotlight at the Freeman Stage on July 25, treating the socially-distanced audience to classic rock. The Freeman Stage had to scrap its plan for the 2020 season due to the pandemic, but retooled its slate of entertainment to focus on local acts and smaller audiences.

With the live music industry shuttered across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) are pushing to make sure small, independent music and entertainment venues can survive until crowds can gather safely again.

The senators this week introduced the Entertainments New Credit Opportunity for Relief & Economic Sustainability (ENCORES) Act, a bill that will create a new tax credit for live entertainment venues with fewer than 500 employees to help cover the cost of refunded tickets for shows that were canceled due to the pandemic.

“Like so many businesses across our country, live music venues have been forced to close their doors, leaving thousands of Americans without jobs and millions without the invaluable experiences they provide. These venues were some of the first businesses to close and, sadly, will be some of the last to fully reopen as our nation continues to grapple with an unprecedented pandemic,” said Carper.

“Today, I am joining Sen. Tester to introduce the ENCORES Act, a bill that will provide much-needed relief for our live music venues by creating a tax credit to help cover refunded ticket costs due to canceled events. Music venues are truly special places that have, for generations, provided our families with priceless memories. It’s on us to do what we can to support this industry now so that we can come out on the other side of this pandemic and ensure that this will not be the day the music died.”

The ENCORES Act tax credit will allow music venues to recoup some of the losses they have experienced due to ticket refunds from canceled events. To be eligible for the credit, businesses must have offered a voucher to customers first, and customers opted for a refund instead.

Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra at Freeman Stage 2019

The Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra performs annually at the Freeman Stage. This year's summer entertainment series was altered by coronavirus-related measures, with a focus on local acts and smaller audiences grouped into 'pods.' The MSO is one of the few acts from the original lineup stil performing at the Stage this summer.

Carper said independent venue operators from across Delaware have reached out to him about the hardships they are facing, and have thanked him for introducing the bill, including Milton Theatre Director Fred Munzert.

“History tells us that for every challenging time, the arts persist and come back even stronger. Art is one of the first things people look to when regaining their sense of normalcy,” said Munzert. “In these incredibly challenging times, live art will be the voice of peace and hope. Keeping our local venues alive and well must be part of our plan as we create a new world for all to enjoy.

A bipartisan companion version of the ENCORES Act was introduced (https://kind.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/reps-kind-kelly-introduce-legislation-protect-independent-music-and) in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

The ENCORES Act is available online at https://www.tester.senate.gov/files/Legislation/GAI20668.pdf.