You may have read the news already. The outpouring of memories and support on social media made it all the more heartbreaking.
Gregg and Destinee Ware, proprietors of S. Lamar live music hot spot One-2-One Bar, announced that their venue is closing for good. It was in business for nearly 17 years, home to a number of musical residencies and host of what evolved into an expanding list of performances.
“One-2-One was never about the location, whether it was our downtown space or the South Lamar location,” the announcement read, “It was always about the people, the staff, and the relationships formed because of the atmosphere created.”
Former East 7th St. venue Barracuda experienced a similar emotional outpouring after its closing in June, as did Threadgills and the Townsend on Congress Ave. And the threat of more Austin venues permanently closing looms dangerously close. KUTX’s Jeff McCord wrote about the struggle to keep these venues afloat, with a burning question that should definitely pull up several red flags: “What is Austin without its clubs?” The city’s longstanding “Live Music Capital of the World” declaration rings hallow in the current devastating environment, as haunting as the apparent lack of support.
Also in social media is this hashtag: #SaveOurStages. It’s a campaign started by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) to preserve music venues across the country, crucial to their local economies. The situation is dire, due to the impact of COVID-19. Could the wake up call be made any clearer? Several more live music venues in Austin alone are expected to close permanently unless provided with some kind of support.
To raise further awareness of this and #SaveOurStages, a nation-wide benefit has been organized: A SONG FOR JOE – Celebrating the Birthday of Joe Strummer, featuring several music artists performing, and a premiere of never-before-seen live Joe Strummer footage. The line-up includes Joe Ely, (no Strummer celebration would be complete without Ely, hello?), Bruce Springsteen, Lucinda Williams, Jeff Tweedy, Jesse Dayton, Jim Jarmusch, Butch Walker, Dhani Harrison, DJ Scratchy, Cherry Glazerr, holy hell, even Steve Buscemi is making an appearance…and many more.
The show launches at 2 p.m. Central today, Friday August 21, and can be viewed on the official Joe Strummer YouTube channel as well as the Joe Strummer website. The website also includes the full line-up, and NIVA’s website lists ways you can help #SaveOurStages.
-Photography by Ebet Roberts.