Do you remember the first time you packed into a mildly musty, dim, dusky venue with 75 strangers and listened to a band you’d never heard of? That first experience hearing music that your parents or the radio didn’t play, that can trigger the beginning of a lifelong chase to join the elect few who can brag, “Yeah, I saw them before their album came out.”
For some, that first show was at Meow Wolf in our venue, Fancy Town, at House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Though we all miss live music and the palpable bond it brings, Meow Wolf has made the decision to push all our remaining 2020 live shows into 2021 and beyond. There is, unfortunately, too much uncertainty around safety for both audience members and touring acts to present live music this year.
Some of our fellow independent music venues have closed their doors permanently. We urgently need to #SaveOurStages to help others keep their doors open.
“Without venues, we lose a sense of self-discovery, we lose connection in a community intrinsic to music, and weaken subcultures spawned by those spaces. We need these sanctuaries, these dance floors, these community containers, as they have given birth to something bigger than just a stage or building,” says Meow Wolf’s Experience Art Director, Sofie Cruse.
The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has brought over 2,000 venues (including us) together from all 50 states to fight against the closure of these small venues by lobbying Congress for federal aid with the #SaveOurStages Act and #RestartAct. These acts will go to vote after the August recess, so we urge you to join us in sharing this hashtag and writing your representatives now.
Ask your representatives to support the #SaveOurStages bill; it only takes a minute, and your support could provide a lifeline for independent music venues across the country.
“It's more than losing a venue,” says Cruse, “it's losing the connective tissue to DJs, performers, promoters, industry professionals, dance floor enthusiasts, and takes away the moments that can form and shape a subculture, town, genre of music, into a lasting language.”
The Austin-native was quick to rattle off some of her favorite hometown independent venues:
The Mohawk, The Scoot Inn, Cheer Up Charlies, The Parish, Antone’s, Stubb’s, Hotel Vegas to name a few. And we’d never forget Empire Control Room where we took over for three days of art installations and daytime and nighttime dance parties dubbed “Fractallage” for SXSW 2018.
Our friends and fellow NIVA members at House of Yes provide a safe space in Brooklyn for the LGBTQ communities to throw parties, host yoga, perform burlesque, and remix films like when HOY premiered our documentary Meow Wolf: Origin Story with a flying George R. R. Martin and rap battle between Art and Money. At Elsewhere (also in Brooklyn), folx find rotating immersive art experiences in each cranny of the building, plus The Rooftop, a pretty rad bar and venue.
Denver staple, Oriental Theater, where RUMTUM recreated an incredible mural inspired by the faded original from the theater’s 1927 opening, are also NIVA members. This Colorado stage, along with Red Rocks, Mission Ballroom and so many others need our support.
At home in New Mexico, we are proud to have worked with (or partied in) so many venues: Launchpad & Sunshine Theater, who both play a huge role in the promotion of local bands, Taos Mesa Brewing Company, who are dealing with the aftermath of a fire, The Lensic, a space for all ages, and the Santa Fe Opera, home of 16 world opera premieres, to name a few.
Have a favorite independent venue? Click here to donate directly to that venue.
(Note: Meow Wolf does not accept donations. We only want to signal-boost other independent venues in need. Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return supports live music’s eternal post-COVID-19 return!)
“It goes beyond dance floor epiphanies,” says Cruse, “venues give support to artists to continue their craft and a home for the listener. #SaveOurStages for the sake of that connective tissue, in this time of great separation, when a sense of community is needed most."
Join Sofie and all of us at Meow Wolf in supporting the #SaveOurStages campaign!