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Breed proposes permanent outdoor live music program

San Francisco’s temporary live music program created during the Covid-19 pandemic may soon become permanent under proposed legislation introduced by Mayor London Breed.

Breed announced the proposal Tuesday that would make the Just Add Music, or JAM program, a permanent thing. Additionally, the mayor and the Entertainment Commission are also trying to establish a system where businesses with current JAM permits can transfer use to brick-and-mortar locations or other special events.

The temporary program, which is administered by the Entertainment Commission, is tied to the local state of emergency and is set to expire by Dec. 31.

City officials launched JAM in September 2020 as a way to help businesses and the arts community stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing for entertainment activities in Shared Spaces and various other outdoor locations.

Officials said The City has issued 250 permits under the temporary program, 88 percent of which were granted to restaurants and bars.

Breed said in a statement:

“Entertainment and the arts are an important part of our City’s economy and culture. Thanks to the work of the Entertainment Commission, this program provided a lifeline for our artists and musicians to survive through the pandemic, and brought life back to our communities. ”

Maggie Weiland, executive director of the Entertainment Commission, said in a statement that JAM has helped keep the nightlife industry going during the pandemic:

“The JAM permit program has been a successful intervention to help our struggling entertainment and nightlife industry weather the pandemic with safer outdoor activity, and to keep our neighborhoods vibrant with arts and cultural experiences during a tremendously isolating time.”

Desi Danganan, executive director of Kultivate Labs, a nonprofit economic development and arts organization, said in a statement that the permit program enabled the SOMA Pilipinas arts and culture district to “jumpstart” its economy.

Danganan said the community was able to transform an abandoned city parking lot into a garden and performance space, adding:

“The crowds that come to Kapwa Gardens to enjoy music and performances has created additional opportunities for vendors to sell food and accelerate our economic recovery.”

Breed’s latest proposal complements an initiative to make the Shared Spaces program permanent, which is currently being considered by the Board of Supervisors.

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