As you may have read on our Welcome page, we had to close our doors at the end of last year. We never gave our patrons an explanation, and we feel we owe you at least that, so we’re using this post to sum up why we went out of business.
Truth be told, there was really no way to stay open if we were going to hold fast to our values, at least not in the city of Charlotte. In this area, it’s really hard to open and sustain a thriving entertainment venue, due to a number of factors, which we’ll cover shortly. We had a dream to beat the odds and stay open, regardless of this city’s reputation, but—alas—we could sustain ourselves no longer.
Even though we’re not up and running anymore, we still have a passion for good music, and we define “good” as that which holds fast to its own standards of originality, regardless of what everyone else says. In other words, if you stand for something and make that clear through your lyrics, melodies, chord changes and instrumentation, and you don’t allow your peers, your producer or your record company to convince you that “selling out” is the answer, then we’d say you’re a “good” artist.
We were a “good” music venue by our own standards. We held on to our beliefs and values, even when it made life harder. Unfortunately, that’s what ultimately led to our downfall, but I, for one, don’t regret a single second.
What exactly are those beliefs and values, you ask? I’ll tell you.
We believe in creating a haven for local, independent artists to thrive. We wanted to build a venue that didn’t turn away local talent. There’s so much of it here, and other venues in the area reject it, except on open mic night or nights during the week when the foot traffic is low. If you’re a local artist trying to get a decent gig in Charlotte, you can forget about it. Not gonna happen unless you have a huge following. That’s just the way the city thrives. If you don’t have enough followers, you won’t bring enough traffic to the venue, which means fewer people paying to get in and fewer people buying drinks. In turn, the venue loses money. And it’s all about the money here. We’re one of the biggest banking capitals in the nation, after all…
We believe in the appreciation of original craft. Basically, this meant that we didn’t allow the over-consumption of alcohol on our premises. We didn’t serve liquor; we only served craft beer, which is designed to be appreciated and not consumed quickly or in large quantities. And when we noticed our patrons getting a bit tipsy, we cut them off and called them a cab. Some nights, this resulted in curses that flew in every direction and ultimately landed right in our faces. But we didn’t care. Our loyal patrons were not there to get drunk and dance to cover songs. They were there to appreciate original art while enjoying a few finely crafted beverages. Which brings us to #3…
We believe in loyalty. Loyalty often requires exclusivity. We didn’t make it easy for a lot of people to get into our venue. Though it was a relatively large establishment, we kept the number of seats available to a minimum and didn’t allow for shows that were standing-room only. This is vastly different from the way most entertainment venues are run, and as you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re saying “no wonder they closed down.” Our ticket prices were higher than most establishments, though, and we marketed the hell out of every show. It was part of our strategy to help local, independent artists with small followings thrive. We weren’t sure if it would work, and to our surprise, it did seem to for a while. But long-term, it just wasn’t sustainable.
These are the primary reasons why we ended up closing our doors. Add that to the amount of space renovations that were necessary for us to even get up and running – a new roof, new flooring, new ceilings and walls to allow for better sound acoustics – and we up to our eyeballs in debt.
But we’re still very much alive in spirit, and our passion lives on through every post we publish on this site. So we hope you’ll come back and keep reading as we continue to tell the story of music in Charlotte, North Carolina.
‘Til next time…
Ginger (a.k.a. the red-headed stepchild)