MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Downtown Minneapolis’ iconic venue, First Avenue, has joined a group of 1,200 independent venues across the country urging congress for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the venue announced that it joined the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to “collectively urge congress to help protect our industry” by providing financial support for independent music venues during the pandemic.

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“When this crisis began, independent music venues were the first to close, and we will be the last to open. While completely shuttered we have no revenue, our employees and artists are without jobs, and normal bills keep coming, regardless,” First Avenue said in a statement.

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The venue also urged fans to support their cause by calling and writing senators and representatives.

“Yell it, scream it, clap your hands, and pound your feet like you’re calling the band back for an encore! Please help us ensure we survive by using your voice now (and tell a friend or 100 friends!),” First Avenue said.

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In January, First Avenue celebrated its 50 year anniversary. Joe Cocker was the opening act for First Avenue in 1970. And Prince made it part of music history when he used the venue to film Purple Rain.