PORTLAND — Operators of Maine music clubs and music industry professionals have formed a grassroots alliance and launched a $500,000 fundraising campaign to help local venues survive the pandemic.

The Maine Music Alliance will coordinate the fundraising campaign and serve as an advocate for the music industry in Maine, Scott Mohler, its president, told the Portland Press Herald.

“I think we’ve all had a fair amount of optimism there would be some kind of government assistance coming down through the Save Our Stages Act or something similar. But the urgency has increased,” he said. “We’ve worked too hard to build the scene up, we can’t just wave the white flag.”

The Save Our Stages Act would provide six months of financial support to keep music venues and theaters open and pay employees. It is among several pandemic-related bills that are mired in the political fight in Washington over the scope of the next round of pandemic relief.

Ian Smith, owner of Sun Tiki Studios on Forest Avenue in Portland, said it’s vital to have financial relief either from Congress or from people who support the Maine Music Alliance fundraising campaign.

One prominent music club in Portland, Port City Music Hall, has permanently closed, and Smith fears others will soon follow.