SURPRISE: THE BACKSTAGE LOUNGE DIDN'T CLOSE AFTER ALL!
At the end of 2017, we were all scared to hear that the Backstage Lounge was fated to close at the end of the year. Following that sad news, we put together a fantastic show and sold out tickets for the Backstage Lounge closing party.
It was a huge success with over 200 people and more drink specials than we all could swallow.
Then, news came of some interesting developments. The Backstage Lounge wasn't closing after all.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions, this wasn't one of those "We're closing, everything must go" situations like you see in that furniture store that has been "Permanently Closing" for 12 years. Here's what really is going on...
Firstly, you need to know a couple things:
- The CMHC (the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) basically owns Granville Island. They don't really, but they control virtually everything and all business that happens there.
- The Arts Club Theatre Company owns the Backstage Lounge
Sometime in 2017, the Arts Club Theatre Company decided that the Backstage Lounge, one of Vancouver's premier medium-scale live music venues that is completely vital to Vancouver's music scene, wasn't making enough money. Therefore, their board decided it would be better to close the Backstage Lounge and turn it into another restaurant with no live music.
This news came as a shock to the management and staff who had all been loyal to the lounge for years as they all loved specifically working in an environment with live music.
The Arts Club informed the Backstage Lounge in September of 2017 that they would have until the end of the year to operate normally, then they would be shut down, renovated and re-open as in Italian Bistro (with no live music).
At that point, the Phonix and the Backstage Lounge partnered to create the best closing party EVER and take the Backstage Lounge out with a bang.
Just days before the closing party on January 2, 2018, the Arts Club came to the Backstage Lounge with some news; they weren't going to close the lounge right away after all.
Remember, the CMHC controls Granville Island...and they decided not to approve the Arts Club's request to renovate the Backstage Lounge.
Good news, right?
Well, yes and no.
At this point, many staff from the Backstage Lounge had already moved on to other jobs and the Backstage Lounge didn't have any live entertainment booked for the coming months. Plus, we did such a great job of promoting the "Closing Party" that most Vancouverites now have it in their heads that Backstage Lounge is gone.
Needless to say, 2018 was a huge struggle for the Backstage Lounge. Very limited budgets have held them back from effectively letting the world know they're still open, bands think they're gone and staffing has been a challenge.
BUT WE'RE NOT GIVING UP!
The Phonix took back our residency at the Backstage Lounge in October and we're back to performing EVERY Thursday night...right into 2019. We'll hopefully keep playing right up until the place actually does close. At this point, we don't know when that will be, but rumour has it that it may be around April 2019.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Please come to our show. Heck, go see any show there. Help the place out. They have been a staple in the Vancouver live music scene for over 30 years. They are one of the only places in town that doesn't charge a band to play there. They are more accommodating to artists than anywhere else we have experienced in 10 years of performing music in Vancouver. They have given a chance to more artists than we could possibly count and their support of live music is an example that venues everywhere should be following.
If you're not in Vancouver and can't physically come to shows, please follow all our social media channels, share posts and comment.
If you value live music, please spread this news and help support the live music at the Backstage Lounge as long as you can!