Two of our beloved venues closed in 2018. Yes, it sucks. It really sucks.
It’s a sad thing. The places we loved to go to meet up with friends…our home away from home. A place where we saw the bands we love, both local and national/international. A place where the staff were our friends, and a place where we felt loved, safe, and that we belonged. The sting from Ash Street was swift, but the follow-up news of Rock Hard PDX closing was devastating.
People say our beloved Portland is dying…and maybe it is. But why not try to stop it? Why not try to take our town back? I say…that is exactly what we need to do.
Money and greed from the owner’s perspective? Maybe. But everyone needs to make a living and make the hard decisions regarding their own business ventures. I can’t imagine that a restaurant will do better where Ash Street was in the sea of amazing restaurants we already have in Portland, or that we need another strip club in an overly saturated town of naked dancing girls. However, I think that we need to be careful where we put blame and anger, because we, as fans, likely share in some of that blame.
Supporting music is necessary if we want to keep venues afloat. I know money can be tight and we have priorities for our own wellbeing and family. But if you love music, do support it as often as you can.
Pay to get in. That way the bands at least recoup their gas and expense. Buy merch, that way the band can eat. BUT most importantly…GO! When we pack a venue, the numbers do not lie. Owners of a consistently packed venue aren’t going to quit to do something else if the venue is full.
Is it an issue that we don’t know what shows are in town? Is it overly saturated with too many choices on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? Are we lazy? I don’t know the answer, and likely the answer is as individual as we each are.
Perhaps we all need to do a better job of promoting and getting information out. Share events. Talk about them. Invite your friends. I always know what is in town, from bands that fill the Rose Quarter, to the smallest club hosting an underground metal band that no one has ever heard of…but I have to work really hard at it. MIRP works hard at it. I know things are a bit complicated by not having a metal radio station anymore, but with the web and social media, that should sufficiently bridge the gap. Can we do better? I know the answer is “Yes”!
The Portland metal community has always stuck together. Collectively we are strong and powerful. We can make a difference.
Let’s take our town back.