NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Iconic venues like the Warner Theatre in Torrington to the Shubert in New Haven will receive federal dollars from Washington, D.C.
All of it helping them turn the house lights back on. The big announcement made at Toad’s Place in New Haven.
For the first time in nearly a year and a half the legendary spot on York Street hosted live music Friday.
Catherine Marx the Connecticut Director of the Small Business Administration said last March was a difficult time for everyone. “The rest of the music industry had to do the inevitable and that was shutter down the day the music died.”
Toad’s Place shuttered at the height of the pandemic. Owner Brian Phelps had fifty-five employees on staff and pounds of food and liquor with no customers to entertain.
“He still had employees that needed to be paid he still had contracts that needed to be worked through,” said Marx.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro a Democrat from Connecticut said Congress needed to do someting. “We had to show them there is a way out.”
DeLauro and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal with the help of the Federal Small Business Administration put together the $16 Billion Shuttered Venues Open Grant Program.
Brian Phelps from Toad’s Place remembers, “We were the first to close and the last to open.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal was pivotal in the process as conversations around the country continued throughout the pandemic. Lawmakers were trying to save the stages. “It’s not just about the music, it’s about the people who come together.”
For 45 years this venue has showcased legends like the Rolling Stones.
The photos and posters on the wall showcase a who’s is who in the music industry.
Nationwide 14,000 venue applications will be awarded federal funding.
In Connecticut $2.4 million received by 10 locations including ; The Shubert in New Haven , the Palace in Waterbury, Bushnell in Hartford and the Bridgeport Cabaret theater.
Toad’s Place will receive $1 million. They suffered more than 90% in lost revenues.
“I was here for the Johnny Cash June Carter and the Carter family concert many years ago,” recalled DeLauro.
The soul of this stage now saved.
Dance parties will start in August. The first concert scheduled for September.
There is still $5 billion in the fund. Museums aquariums and movie theaters are eligible. Owners are encouraged to log on to the SBA website to find out how to apply.