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My Open Letter to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenny on Collapse of Live Music Venues

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

To Mayor Kenny & City Officials:

My name is Aiden James®. I am an international touring singer-songwriter based in Philadelphia. I have been featured by SiriusXM, Apple Music, Spotify, The Advocate Magazine, Vh1 & MTV. I am writing to express my frustration and anger at how the city and officials have abandoned the arts and live music industries during this pandemic. More Specifically, the recent closure of Boot & Saddle in South Philadelphia.

I no longer have a stage to perform on in Philadelphia. In part by your disregard of independent venues, indie artist & restrictions with no path toward resurrection.

I have performed numerous virtual fundraisers for venues across the country organized by The Grammy’s Recording Academy MusiCares initiative. This is an effort to save live music venues that are forced to shut their doors during this pandemic. Small independent venues, like Boot & Saddle, along with performers like me, have been hit hardest by the regulations imposed by city officials. Those restrictions came with no relief or plan to safely navigate & help sustain clubs like Boot & Saddle or independent artists with now, no venues to perform at in Center City. 

As an indie musician I need independent clubs of a certain size to be able to perform at, drawing fans and followers from across the tri state area into the city. The larger venues run by big business such as live nation are not accessible to an artist like me even though I have accomplished much acclaim in my genre. This is again why smaller independent clubs are necessary and so important for artists like me to be able to express, thrive and build a community. 

I am in no way affiliated with Boot & Saddle. I am simply a Philly-based artist now with no venue to perform at, in my hometown. This is due to the venue having to shut its doors permanently because of the COVID-19 restrictions and no action plan by the city to help bring back independent venues from collapse. Or quite frankly, to prevent that from happening initially. 

I would kindly request a response from each city official in regard to your lack of leadership and details on this specific issue as to why you failed us. I am also upon to discussion and solutions moving forward. 

In closing I would like you to take a moment and think about all the times you reach for a pair of headphones. When you turn on a streaming service or hear a song on tv. All those daily engagements with the arts often forgotten or dismissed because of easy access in the age of the internet. Well, that is the product of artists like me touring, performing live, selling merchandise at venues after shows, countless hours rehearsing, producing, and building a legacy. This is an imperative momentum to attain such milestones in the industry. All of which is not possible without the live experience and venues to perform in. 

I am publishing this letter on my blog and I am looking forward to your response.

New “Isolation” EP Available Everywhere

Aiden James® @aidenjamestour

Philly Photographer George Rose : Songster Aiden James Performing at Boot & Saddle Philadelphia, PA. 2020 (c)



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