It will have been 477 days since First Avenue and its sister music venues closed their doors due to COVID-19.

Life takes another big step towards "normal" this weekend with the welcome of live music events at some of Minnesota's most iconic music venues. When COVID-19 first hit -- closing the doors of music venues in Minnesota and across the country -- the music industry took a hard hit. Musicians, technicians, music venues and their staff and everyone else involved in the industry were suddenly without jobs and a source of income. Those who could adapted -- many artists and musicians did free online shows to stay creative and keep their fan's spirits lifted. Desperate for help, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) -- which is made up of over 2,000 independent venues around the country including First Avenue -- launched a campaign in 2020 to #SaveOurStages, asking Washington for targeted legislation to help them survive.

Some 15 months later, the last of Minnesota's music venues are finally ready to open their doors and welcome fans back for live music. "We're vaccinated, we're ready, and (477 days later) we're back!" writes First Avenue in a press release. "Our staff helped us keep the faith that we would return, artists played socially distanced gigs and helped raise awareness for Save Our Stages, thousands of you bought merch, wrote your reps on our behalf, and sent us kind notes of encouragement. Thank you will never cover it."

First Avenue
First Avenue

The first concert back is a sold-out show featuring The Suburbs Friday, July 2 at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, one of several venues owned and operated by First Avenue. First Ave also owns and operates Palace Theater, Fitzgerald Theater, Fine Line and Turf Club. "We currently have nearly 400 shows on the calendar," writes First Ave, "and you'll continue to see more as we ramp up to fall, historically our busiest season of the year."

Find the full list of upcoming concerts and events at First Avenue and its related music venues here.

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