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The Music Heads Back Underground After Record Flooding In Tennessee

Release date: 
September 30, 2010
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MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. -- Cumberland Caverns continues to ring to the sound of bluegrass music, thanks in part to a disaster loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Applications to SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program are being accepted for the storms and flooding in Tennessee on April 30, and on Aug. 17, 2010.

Music promoter Todd Mayo produces Bluegrass Underground, a series of live musical performances staged 300 feet below ground in Cumberland Caverns near McMinnville. Mayo and partner John Walker also produce a second show each week at the Loveless Café Barn in Nashville. Music City Roots is heard live on WSM radio and features an eclectic mix of musical genres: country, Americana, rockabilly, western, jazz and more.

“Our business is all about getting people in the seats for a show,” Mayo said. “In the weeks following the floods, business fell way off. The economic injury loan provided a bridge between bills due now and better receipts when people started coming out again.”

An EIDL can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations of all sizes. The economic injury must be substantial and must be sustained as a direct result of a declared disaster. As with Mayo and Walker, applicants need not have sustained physical damage to qualify.

Businesses or organizations can use EIDL proceeds to meet necessary financial obligations that could have been met without assistance had the disaster not occurred. Loan funds allow recipients to maintain a reasonable working capital during the recovery period.

EIDLs can be awarded only to applicants demonstrating a reasonable ability to repay the loans from earnings. SBA has several powerful tools at its disposal to make the loans affordable, including low rates of 4 percent for businesses and 3 percent for nonprofits. Terms can range up to 30 years. SBA charges no upfront fees or early payment penalties.

“It kind of restored my faith in government,” said co-producer John Walker. “It was a fairly painless process, and we really got the personal touch. Our SBA loan officer actually came to a couple shows. He took time to understand our business.”

To begin the loan process, applicants should call 800-659-2955, visit, or e-mail

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Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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