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Neumos in Seattle, in a Pandemic: Sweet Relief After Applying for Venue Grant

As part of Billboard's efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we have been speaking with Steven Severin regularly to chronicle his experience throughout…

As co-owner of Seattle’s popular independent venue Neumos in Capitol Hill, Steven Severin has been a staple in the Seattle music industry for more than 20 years. Roughly 10 years ago, he helped create the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association to bring together the area’s live event insiders, and for the past 16 years has helped run Neumos with its sister club Barboza and the accompanying Runaway bar.

As part of Billboard‘s efforts to best cover the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts on the music industry, we have been speaking with Severin regularly to chronicle his experience throughout the crisis. (Read the last installment here and see the full series here.)


Were you finally able to get your application in for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant on Monday?

Yes. It’s such a release. It feels so good to just let it go because it has been so exhausting and frustrating and so much work. Some people are celebrating and laughing and happy. Other people are just balling their heads off. Most of us are doing some kind of combo of that. As soon as I worked through it in the morning, my wife came into the room and we both started tearing up. It was just so much.

Now it is done, until we actually get a check or get a wire. Then it’s going to be party time. [laughs] I don’t know what people are going to do. It’s going to be interesting.

Did the SBA give you any idea when the money would be coming in? 

Nope. Initially we were told it would be done pretty fast. When we asked, we were told unofficially that it could be as soon as a week. I spoke with an SBA rep today on a call and she had no idea. We have been really fair and patient with the SBA. You kind of want a bit of that reciprocated.  


How long did it take you to get your application in? 

An hour. Someone I know got it done in 35 minutes. There were people who were waiting [in long online queues] but once you started it was less than an hour. Originally, they said it would take two hours, but we were all prepared. By the time everything was done, I knew it so well I could have written the grant.  

What do you do now? Do you get to go out and celebrate?

Did I tell you I got vaccinated? I got my second shot two weeks ago so I am fully vaccinated. It’s awesome. It was hell. I was sick as sh– for 48 hours. It was not fun. I am not a good sick person. Just stay away because I am cranky. It was fever and body aches and bad flu symptoms. After that 48th hour, I started to feel better and it was like, ‘this is the greatest thing ever!’ I was so happy.


Neumos has a few shows up for sale now. They start in August. How are they selling?

We changed ticketing companies since the pandemic and I keep forgetting to get a log in.  We have Bully on sale and I think we just put on the Osees for two nightsOh, and Beach Bunny. I’ve heard all the big stuff is selling like crazy. People are so ready to get back and do things. It’s not that much longer. Sept. 1, I bet everybody is open everywhere again. It will be earlier than that for most.