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Lack of concerts costing downtown Missoula tens of millions of dollars

(KPAX) Stopping the COVID-19 pandemic from Missoula Concert Stage is not just an inconvenience for fans. It could also cost local businesses up to $100 million in lost revenue.

Logjam Presents owner and president Nick Checota thinks residents can help by lending their support — and their wallets — to help the downtown weather the storm.

The pandemic shutdown of Missoula’s growing concert scene is having a profound impact, not only on the venues themselves, but on all surrounding businesses.

“That kind of bringing people downtown enjoying all the food we have now, all these great restaurants, now we have to go to the bars and then go to the show, Checota said. “It’s all lost right now and I think people are feeling that for sure.”

Feel it to the tune of millions of dollars.

“Seeing people come together and come together is such an important part of community, but you also know, take the Wilma. The Wilma was doing two to three shows with 1,000 to 1,500 people a week, with most of those shows running Monday through Thursday,” Checota said.

“This volume of people, they go to restaurants. They go to bars. They come downtown. They shop in stores before and after the concert. In the months of January and February when life is already slow, not having that bit of pop for all those restaurants and bars is brutal,” he added.

Businesses are adapting as best they can, with social distancing and other innovations — measures that were even enforced at a recent trade show at the Wilma. But with a “ten times” multiplier, the setback is huge.

“A dollar on a ticket is $10 worth of restaurants, drinks, bars – all these different coins. All of that is lost,” Checota said.

“And if you think about Logjam, I mean, we sold $10 million worth of tickets last year. And if you follow that logic, that’s a huge number that’s now missing from the economy and the total spend – in total, multiplier,” Checota added.

Vintage trouble at the Wilma. (William Munoz/Missoula Current file)

And if you extend that calculation to Helena, Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings, the loss of revenue statewide is huge.

A hole that could widen considerably, if Congress fails to agree on the first financial support for the entertainment industry, creating a collapse of the system.

Checota says it would be helpful if people reached out to Congress and told them the entertainment industry needed a lifeline.

But in the meantime, even if the counters remain closed, he said the real help can come from the city center and support local businesses.

“Going back to the multiplier, they can come downtown and support restaurants and bars that have lost that revenue. The restaurant scene is devastated right now. They need that support,” Checota said.

“And so, get down to find your way safely, whether it’s takeout, outside the domes, inside. Anything you are comfortable with. But these downtown restaurants and bars desperately need that support right now,” he concluded.

Logjam Presents had to lay off 125 employees due to the pandemic shutdown, and Checota fears it could be another year before concert activity returns to some normality, if the industry can survive this winter. .