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Supporting the independent music venues of Nashville, TN

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There’s no feeling blue(bird) at The Bluebird Cafe. | Photo by @gruv.images

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Turn the volume up an extra notch, Nashville. It’s Independent Venue Week (Mon., July 11-Sun., July 17), and Music City just wouldn’t be Music City without all of our venues. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” between legends like The Bluebird Café and EXIT/IN, but do soaring developments pose that threat? Here’s your backstage pass on what steps the city is taking to safeguard Nashville’s independent music venues + how you can support them.

The council has spoken

As building ownerships have changed, developments are considered + cost of leases are on the rise, some of Nashville’s most famed venues have been forced to relocate or consider relocating this past year alone — like Mercy Lounge and 3rd and Lindsley, respectively.

Following these developments, Metro Council approved this legislation in April:

Prevention strategies study

The study will pinpoint ways to preserve independent music venues by utilizing outside consultants who will compare methods used by other cities to support venues combating development pressure. An additional $30,000 from Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and $10,000 from the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp will be added to the $260,000 in American Rescue Plan funds.

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Thomas Rhett recently brought the heat to Marathon Music Works. | Photo by @hayleyshoots

Music City Council

Music City Council originated in 2009 under former Mayor Karl Dean, but failed to maintain momentum just two years later. Council member Jeff Syracuse hopes the revival of Music City Council will aid the 615’s artists and creativity + follow suit with Huntsville, AL — which recently hired a music officer in its mayor’s office.

Restoring Elks Lodge

North Nashville’s Elks Lodge (formerly Club Baron), was recognized as a historical landmark in 2016. It was damaged by the March 2020 tornado, landing it on the “Nashville Nine” — a list of at-risk historical properties. The Jefferson Street spot thrived in the 50s and 60s, hosting the likes of Jimi Hendrix + Ray Charles, among others.

Show your support

Snag tickets for one of multiple shows happening this week:

Visit each venues’ websites for calendars of events all week, or search for shows via Independent Venue Week.

Busy week?

If you can’t attend an upcoming show, you can still directly donate to support these venues via local organizations like the Music Venue Alliance. Wear your support on your sleeve by purchasing a Music City Bandwith t-shirt (100% of proceeds go to Nashville’s independent venues), or support your favorite venue by purchasing merchandise directly from its website.