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Indie Venue Advocate Tobi Parks Wants to ‘Usher in the Next Generation’ of Live Music Professionals

This story is part of Billboard‘s 2021 Pride List, which spotlights LGBTQ professionals who are shaping the music industry.

Tobi Parks
VP, National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) Foundation; owner/artistic director, xBk; founder/board president, Station 1 Records; attorney, business affairs administration, Sony Music Entertainment

At this point in the pandemic, Tobi Parks’ xBk music venue in Des Moines, Iowa, has been open for almost half the time that it was closed. The 250-capacity artist space, which she envisioned as a home for LGBTQ+ music fans and others from marginalized communities, had been operating for only six months when the coronavirus halted concerts. (It has since resumed limited-capacity shows.) Soon after the shutdown, a fellow venue owner sent Parks, 44, an email to join a Zoom call with other panicking live-music professionals from across the country.