FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - A new program in the Shoals is hoping to help Florence business owners in the entertainment industry with some much needed financial assistance.
“Florence Rocks” will provide cost reimbursement grants to help professionals in the growing entertainment industry. It’s a new program funded by the CARES Act.
The Shoals area is known for its musical community and is deemed the hit recording capital of the world.
However, city leaders say the arts and entertainment industry has an unemployment rate more than 1.5 times that of the national rate.
According to a music audit conducted by Sound Diplomacy in 2019, nearly $49 million is generated by the Shoals’ music ecosystem solidifying the value of the area’s musical economy. The industry in the Shoals generates 1.61 percent of the area’s employment exceeding the national average by .31.
While this program will mostly be for people in performing arts, those impacted by the pandemic in other arts industries will also be considered.
The program’s goal is to assist as many local professionals in the industry as possible with certain fixed costs such as utilities or phone and internet.
“We’re certainly not closing it off to artists in a different realm,” said Florence Planning and Community Development Director, Melissa Bailey. “We are focusing though on the performance industry. So we’re not saying no, but certainly those in the performing arts industry, in the performing industry, songwriters, event centers, we’re certainly going to look at those as our priority.”
So here are the details.
Florence ROCKS is a grant, not a loan.
An electronic application is required and can be found on the city’s website.
Applicants are asked to submit proof of eligible expenditures and payment for the allowable time period.
Businesses must meet eligibility criteria before applying. Eligible industry professionals include: Recording Studio, Studio Musician, Sound Technician, Sound Engineer, Stage Hand, Recording Artist, Tour Manager, Merchandise Manager, Band/Side Musician, Performance Venue.
Applications open Thursday, March 18 and close April 7 at 5 p.m.