Pabst Theater Group’s Gary Witt Talks About How the Pandemic Has Affected Performance Venues

“I think that concerts give the city a soul and identity, we are an integral part of this city.” 

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Gary Witt, CEO of the Pabst Theater Group, joined Milwaukee Magazine Editor and Publisher Carole Nicksin for a livestream lunch Tuesday.

Witt talked about the effect of the coronavirus on independent performance venues throughout the country. 

He said that after the pandemic hit, representatives from the Pabst Theater Group, First Avenue club and an organization called Independent Venue Week created the National Independent Venue Association to lobby for economic support and representation during this crisis. The group now has over 1,000 member venues, Witt said.

“It was quite a moment,” Witt said. “This is incredibly important for the concert business in America.”

Witt also discussed the crucial role independent venues play in the local economy, bringing business to restaurants and hotels throughout Milwaukee. They can also provide essential revenue for up-and-coming musicians in Milwaukee and throughout the country. 

“I think that concerts give the city a soul and identity,” he said. “We are an integral part of this city.” 

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