Local Venues Drkmttr, The End, The East Room, Exit/In, & More Call on Community for Help Amidst Closures

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It was only a few weeks ago (though it feels like an eternity) that our community was aching from the aftermath of a devastating tornado, which among other things, destroyed beloved local venue The Basement East, dealing a huge blow to Nashville’s music scene. In the weeks since, with nearly every aspect of daily life and society alerted by the spread of COVID-19, live music has come to a total halt, displacing countless freelance and service industry employees, and particularly affecting the creative community, displacing venue and freelance music and entertainment workers, while also cutting off an important source of revenue for performing artists.

While it’s hard to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel in these trying times, we have no doubt that Nashville’s tough and resilient creatives will find a way through (and/or sources of help and aid), incredibly difficult though it might be, but for some live spaces- particularly the smallest, most independent, lowest profit-margin venues whose continued existence in an ever-more-expensive city is a daily struggle in the best of times- many weeks or months without business could be a death blow.

There are so many big, new, flashy venues opening or in the works to be excited about, and certainly Nashville isn’t in danger of all venues disappearing, but without small rooms like Drkmttr, The End, The East Room, Springwater, and others, not only does the smaller, more underground, more creative side of the local music scene lose its outlet, but also some of the most essential up and coming national acts lose their places to stop through. These spaces are what helped make Nashville so cool in the first place (and, ironically, what attracted the corporate backed venues and developers who threaten their existence), and it would be an unimaginable shame to lose them because they’ve shut down to help protect us.

As many artists,  stores, restaurants, service and gig economy workers, and freelancers have been forced to do, local venues have begun taking to crowdfunding in recent weeks, not only to offset their own costs while unable to host shows, but, in the case of some (particularly larger rooms), to directly support their displaced staff. Please, if you can, if you’re in a financial position to do so, consider donating to help protect some of Nashville’s most important musical spaces at the links below.

LOCAL VENUES IN NEED:

DRKMTTR (donate here)

All ages, DIY, indie venues like Drkmttr are often overlooked, but absolutely essential in fostering a thriving, creative, inclusive community of artists and show-goers. They run on the lowest of margins and are always a labor of love, organized and maintained by people who understand the importance of these types of spaces. After years in impermanent locations (and a year displaced), Drkmttr settled in a more formal space in East Nashville last year, and it would break our hearts to see it disappear again. They’ve already reached their funding goal, but small venues like this can always use all the help they can get- donate to Drkmttr here.

THE END (donate here)

Like Drkmttr, legendary Rock Block staple The End is an important, often overlooked space that is essential to the young, alternative, up and coming side of the local music scene and burgeoning touring acts (and even plays host to some fairly big bands from time to time- always a treat in such a crammed, punk space). Even before all of this, development in Midtown has been threatening the area’s venues, and losing The End, above all, would be a blow the scrappy, underground side of our local music scene. They still need a lot of help and you can donate to The End here.

THE EAST ROOM (donate here)

Since the old days of East Nashville Underground, The East Room has been a consistently great and important independent venue spaces for an incredible variety of local shows and national artists. Their dedicated staff are integral to our independent music scene, and the venue is raising money to help support them while closed. You can donate to The East Room here.

EXIT/IN (donate here)

Though a tad larger than the venues above, the Rock Block’s Exit/In has been a Nashville staple since the early ’70s, and with recent external pressure from pricey development in the area and a growing number of new corporate-backed venues in competition, it was already one of the city’s most vulnerable independent spaces even before all of this. Along with its sister bar space Hurry Back, the Exit/In employs a sizable staff, and they’re asking for donations to help support them. Donate to Exit/In here, and/or consider buying some merch. If you’re holding a ticket to a show that’s being rescheduled, you could also consider not requesting a refund at this time.

THE COBRA (donate here)

Though it’s also a great, rock and roll spirited dive bar in its own right, East Nashville’s The Cobra has also long been a live music staple as well (carrying on the legacy of its former history as fooBAR), hosting shows both in their front bar and dedicated venue space in the back, where we’ve caught some unforgettable nights like Thunderbitch, Mineral, and countless local fests. In an effort to support their staff while closed, they’ve also launched a GoFundMe, and you can donate to The Cobra here.

SPRINGWATER SUPPER CLUB (donate here)

Tennessee’s oldest bar is also one of Nashville’s best underground music venues, where several of our favorite local acts cut their teeth over the years: Springwater Supper Club. As much a bar as it is a music venue, the west end neighborhood haunt is aiding their bartenders and staff by asking for donations, and you can donate to Springwater Supper Club here.

THE 5 SPOT (donate here)

Five Points staple The 5 Spot had only just re-opened from the tornado before shuttering again due to COVID-19. They book some of the highest frequency of acts of any venue in town, and are going above and beyond in their fundraising, attempting not only to keep the venue afloat and to help pay staff, but also to send money to around 150 acts they’ve had to cancel for the month (hence their hefty funding goal), with the promise that any extra will go to community health charity The Ben Eyestone Fund. You can donate to The 5 Spot here.

3RD & LINDSLEY (donate here)

Another longtime live music staple, 3rd & Lindsley has played host to a wide variety of small and mid-sized performers over the years, with their Lightning 100-sponsored Sunday showcase, Nashville Sunday Night, a consistent weekend favorite. They’re a bit larger than some of these other spaces, but as an independent venue in a neighborhood being swiftly developed, they need help too- especially with a staff of around 50. To help support their employees, donate to 3rd & Lindsley here.

CITY WINERY (donate here)

City Winery is probably bigger and better funded than the other venues on this list, and it’s part of a small chain, rather than a local, independent, single-location venue. We’re including it though, because their venue does employ dozens of people who, like many service industry workers, are totally displaced right now. Their goal is so high because it benefits employees at all of the venue’s more than half a dozen locations, and you can donate to City Winery here.

RUDY’S JAZZ ROOM (donate here)

Gulch situated Rudy’s Jazz Room, another of our city’s great small, independent venues, and the best spot to catch quality jazz every night of the week, is also running a GoFundMe to help cover costs and take care of employees during the closure. You can donate to Rudy’s here.

THE BASEMENT EAST

We’re listing The Basement East last because as far as we can tell, they haven’t formally launched a fundraiser as of yet for the venue or staff in response to COVID-19. In the aftermath of this month’s tornado though, they did launch a donation page which more generally benefits the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (an effort that is unfortunately now being eclipsed by more recent events), and they’re selling a t-shirt to benefit the United Way Fund. We’ll update if we seen any specific funding efforts for The Basement or BEast.

If we missed any local venues currently running relief efforts, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update accordingly!

Hayley Williams Brings in boygenius for Hypnotic New Song “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris”

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After kicking off the year with the surprise announcement of her first-ever solo LP, Petals for Armor, set to arrive May 8, then wowing us with a series of singles and narratively-woven music videos, and, later, lyric videos, culminating in a five-song EP, Petals for Armor I, Paramore singer Hayley Williams, who also recently announced her first solo tour, with a pair of dates tentatively slated for Brooklyn Bowl Nashville in late June, has just made our time in quarantine a whole lot sweeter by gracing us with yet another new tune- “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris”!

As teased in a recent Rolling Stone interview, Williams’ latest features background vocals from esteemed supergroup boygenius- singer-songwriters Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus- and was co-written and recorded with her Paramore bandmate Taylor York and Canon Blue’s Daniel James, with further instrumentation from Joey Howard, Aaron Steel, and Benjamin Kaufman. Like her first crop of songs, “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” is a genuine stylistic departure from Paramore, tapping into a more moody, groove-laden, orchestral, and experimental style, again with strong Radiohead vibes but also giving us shades of Solange, Canon Blue, Sucré, and Sigur Rós.

According to a statement posted earlier this week, Hayley had originally intended to release another EP’s worth of songs at once, but in light of recent world events, changed her plan to a more gradual release (as with the initial three tracks of Petals I), giving people more time to connect with each new song, and giving us all something ongoing to look forward to. With each and every personal and sonically distinct track, it’s clear that this album is going to be something incredibly essential and special; a cathartic release for Williams and a glimpse at a whole new side of her artistry- one without any prior baggage or expectations- for fans, so far leaving us spellbound with every song.

As we eagerly await more from Petals for Armor II, hear “Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris” below, accompanied by visuals from local artist Mike Kluge!

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[NO COUNTRY PREMIERE] The Blam Blams Preview Forthcoming Concept Album with Soaring New Single “Isabella”

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If you keep up with our local show recommendations, you’ve almost certainly seen us mention rising local glam rock outfit The Blam Blams in recent years, who, since first coming together in late 2017, have become an increasingly buzzworthy fixture in Nashville and beyond.

The glitter-soaked combo have, already, amassed a reputation for their theatrical, harmony-soaked, and dazzling live performances, despite only an EP’s worth of tracks out so far. Largely influenced by ’60s psych-pop and ’70s glam and rock staples like Bowie and Queen, it should come as no surprise that the band’s forthcoming debut LP, Opening Night, which is due out May 22, is a concept album, and ahead of its release, we’re very excited to bring you an exclusive premiere of brand new single “Isabella”!

With the album set to tackle themes of sexuality (3/4 of the members are queer), gender, love and living without a mask, we’re told the conceptual theme, as told by a narrator, “explores the life of Sydney Fabel, the record’s fictional protagonist,” who is “a bisexual actor/ artist in 1970’s London is stepping out onto the stage both literally and figuratively as he begins to discover his own agency amidst starring in a production with the Galactic Theater company.”

The subject of this single, the band explain that the character of “Isabella was Sydney’s girlfriend when he founded his theatre company, and this song introduces his relationship with her. The narrator describes Sydney’s infatuation with wearing his girlfriend’s clothes when she’s out of the house.”

In line with the band’s previous work, “Isabella” is soaked with retro flair, awash with psychedelic harmonies, old school arrangements, and tons of theatrical, earnest, musical spirit, and hooks that’ll stay in your head for days. Though, originally, the group were set to celebrate it with a release show this weekend, in light of the current state of live music as we all lock down for COVID-19, we’re told a virtual concert is in the works instead. Keep an eye on the social media links below for the latest updates, and stream “Isabella” now!

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No Country Guide to 2020’s Changing Music Festival Landscape

Festivals2020-620Photo by Andrew Ha.

In the wake of of today’s announcement that Bonnaroo 2020 has been postponed to September, along with similar news that Atlanta’s Shaky Knees is moving to October, both coming after weeks of other festival news like the cancelation of Austin’s SXSW and Knoxville’s Big Ears, and the high-profile postponement of Coachella, we’ve decided to put together a partial guide to the 2020 music festival season, where you can more easily track cancellations, postponements, and events still scheduled to go on as planned, as well as conveniently scope out the updated calendar of dates.

It’s an unprecedented moment in American history (and a hard time for many who rely on live music for their livelihood), and as the situation with COVID-19 and the timetable necessary to combat it changes each day, it is important to be patient while each event works hard to determine what is the best decision for public safety. It’s still unclear when we can expect a return to normalcy, but at this point, the remaining spring events seem all but guaranteed to shift or cancel, as early summer begins to clear out as well. Not every festival will find a new date, and the ones that do may have slightly altered lineups, but we’re hoping that at the end of all of this, all will be in a position to return in 2021 despite the financial and logistical burden of these changes.

This is not a complete list of every American festival, but, rather, a rundown on most music fests local and regional to Nashville, along with some of our favorite national events that we watch and occasionally attend each season. Like the festivals themselves, the scope of our 2020 coverage at this point remains uncertain, but we hope, like many of you, to be back out and enjoying music festivals in a few months. We’ll do our best to keep this list updated, but for the latest information, hit the link at the end of each listing.

3/23: Updated information for Double Decker Arts Festival, Beale Street Music Festival, Homecoming, & Riverbend Festival.

3/24: Updated information for Firefly Music Festival, which has been canceled, and new dates for Double Decker Arts Festival.

3/26: Updated information for The Governor’s Ball, which has been canceled.

3/27: Updated postponement information for Beale Street Music Fest.

3/31: Updated cancelation information for CMA Fest and Boston Calling.

4/1: Updated cancelation, pending postponement information for Hangout Fest.

4/3: Updated cancelation info for The National’s Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati.

4/7: Updated cancelation info for Bunbury and BUKU (which had previously been postponed).

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CANCELED: SXSW (Austin, TX) – originally March 13-22 [more]

CANCELED: BUKU Music + Art Project (New Orleans, LA) – originally March 20-21; briefly postponed to Sept. 4-6 before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, TN) – originally March 26-29 [more]

POSTPONED: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans, LA) – originally April 23-May 3; now fall, dates TBA [more]

CANCELED: Sweetwater 420 Fest (Atlanta, GA) – originally April 24-26; officially being called a “postponement” to 2021 with many of the same artists [more]

CANCELED: Shaky Boots (Atlanta, GA) – originally May 8-9 [more]

CANCELED: Homecoming (Cincinnati, OH) – originally May 8-9 [more]

TBA: Hangout Music Festival (Gulf Shores, AL) – originally May 15-17; exploring postponement options [more]

POSTPONED: Riverbend Festival (Chattanooga, TN) – originally May 27-30; new dates TBA [more]

CANCELED: Boston Calling (Boston, MA) – originally May 28-30 [more]

CANCELED: CMA Fest (Nashville, TN) – originally June 4-7 [more]

CANCELED: The Governor’s Ball Music Festival (New York, NY) – originally June 5-7 [more]

CANCELED: Bunbury Music Festival (Cincinnati, OH) – originally June 5-7 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Muddy Roots Spring Weekender (Nashville, TN) – June 12-13 [more]

CANCELED: Firefly Music Festival (Dover, DE) – June 18-21 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Forecastle Festival (Louisville, KY) – July 17-19 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL) – July 17-19 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL) – July 30-Aug. 2 [more]

POSTPONED: Double Decker Arts Festival (Oxford, MS) – originally April 24-25; now Aug. 14-15 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Live on the Green (Nashville, TN) – Aug. 20-Sept. 6 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Railbird Festival (Lexington, KY) – Aug. 22-23 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Muddy Roots Music Festival (Cookeville, TN) – Sept. 3-6 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Riot Fest (Chicago, IL) – Sept. 11-13 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Moon River Music Festival (Chattanooga, TN) – Sept. 12-13 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival (Louisville, KY) – Sept. 12-13 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Louder Than Life (Louisville, KY) – Sept. 17-20 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Furnace Fest (Birmingham, AL) – Sept. 18-20 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) – Sept. 19-20 [more]

POSTPONED: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN) – originally June 11-14; now Sept. 24-27 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Bourbon & Beyond (Louisville, KY) – Sept. 25-27 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival (Franklin, TN) – Sept. 26-27 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender (Nashville, TN) – Oct. 2-4 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Austin City Limits Music Festival (Austin, TX) – Oct. 2-4 + 9-11 [more]

POSTPONED: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Indio, CA) – originally April 10-12 + 17-19; now Oct. 9-11 + 16-18 [more]

POSTPONED: Shaky Knees (Atlanta, GA) – originally May 1-3; now Oct. 16-18 [more]

POSTPONED: Beale Street Music Festival (Memphis, TN) – originally May 1-3; now Oct. 16-18 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans, LA) – Oct. 30-Nov. 1 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: The Fest (Gainesville, FL) – Oct. 30-Nov. 1 [more]

Bonnaroo Reschedules for Sept. 24-27

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It’s been an unprecedented few weeks in Nashville, the world, and the music community. As we struggle still to recover and rebuild from the devastating tornado earlier this month, and as the spread of COVID-19 has all but ground daily life to a halt, displacing countless members of the work force, and all but bringing the live music industry to a standstill, we’re doing our best to try to navigate what the immediate few months will look like.

At a crucial time when all large gatherings should be strictly avoided, it’s been inevitable to see every early season and spring music festival already cancel or postpone, and as we get an ever-changing picture of how long our social distancing should last, and how far-reaching the effects will be, summer festivals are beginning to cancel and shift preemptively as well. Given the latest estimated timeframes, and the clearing out of May events, we suspected June would soon follow, and now we have definitive confirmation that this year’s Bonnaroo, scheduled for June 11-14 in Manchester, TN, has officially been moved to a new weekend in the fall: Sept. 24-27.

Not every festival has the opportunity or logistical feasibility to find a new date, and given this year’s exciting lineup (and the fact that it sold out quicker than any prior year in festival history), we’re incredibly happy to see ‘Roo still find a way to make things happen (even if it does not land in an ever-crowding fall timeframe, which currently overlaps with fellow local event Pilgrimage Festival). It’s unclear at this moment how the lineup will change (based on other festivals making similar moves, expect the bulk of the time line artists to perform, with some likely changes in the mid and smaller bill), but we’ll keep you updated as news develops.

Here’s a statement from the festival:

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will be rescheduled to take place September 24-27, 2020 out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of all Bonnaroovians, artists, staff and our community.

All current tickets and onsite accommodations (camping, tent rentals, RV, etc.) will be honored for the new weekend. Fans with off-site accommodations and shuttles purchased through the festival will be contacted directly with updates.

Rest assured, we will share updates as quickly as possible via email, our website, and on our social accounts.

Please continue to radiate positivity through this uncharted time in our world. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you on The Farm this fall.

– ❤️ Bonnaroo

Tickets to this year’s Bonnaroo are currently sold out, but we’ll keep you posted if more are announced to open up in light of the change. We hope you’re all staying healthy and safe, and our hearts go out to the local music community in particular in this challenging time.

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