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Covid-19 permanently shuts another music venue, this time Somerville's ONCE Lounge and Ballroom

WBUR reports.

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Another venue bites the dust. Saw some great shows here. Even before the pandemic it was hard enough to find places for smaller/local/underground bands to play, we will see what remains in 2021...

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I was looking forward to the Rumble there and have been to other shows at ONCE. Damn, where are bands going to play when this is all over?

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things will be fine once the world gets started back up. it’ll be slow at first for sure, but we’ve been starting to find some success playing shows for clients on zoom etc. the demand is there and i think it’ll translate once (if?) everything can open up.

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There was a dearth of places for less-established acts to play before COVID. With the loss of places like ONCE and Great Scott (I know maybe not) and Wonder Bar and Thunder Road (etc) there are simply less stages available. I hope a whole bunch of new places pop up, but unless they make it easier (i.e. cheaper) to get a liquor license, the bar is pretty high to open a hole in the wall rock joint.

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There will be venues on the other end. They will likely be owned by deeper pocket/corporate entities. There are a number of equity/venture firms looking to consolidate the space by buying stakes in venues from smaller players that don’t have the liquidity to withstand the closures. Should be able to buy them cheap and make profits once the vaccines roll out.

Most COVID industries will likely go through similar shakeouts/consolidations. Demand will still be there if vaccines roll out, those with capital today that can consolidate will do very well.

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Live music isn't going to ever die, but...

Consolidation of venues isn't good for musicians or fans. It hurts people who are up and coming. It makes it more expensive to see a show and more difficult to book a club if you don't already have a contract. Corporate venues don't give back to the community. Has Ticketmaster ever done anything good for fans, ever? (The answer is no.)

And while demand might not vanish entirely, the fewer the venues, the lower the demand for live music overall. Once people stop going out, it's hard to get them to come back. Same goes for restaurants -- density is a good thing.

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Not advocating for consolidation or is saying its great, just saying that’s where we are headed. We don’t have to worry about these things going away, but these scenes will be more corporatized.

Larger businesses outside of corporate real estate, brick and mortar retail, and maybe cruises/hotels are long-term winners of COVID and the way the US has responded to it.

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I think concerns about spaces for small/independent musicians to play going away for good are very real, actually. The smallest corporate venue in the city is Brighton Music Hall, which at 500 cap is simply too large for smaller acts that are still honing their craft. Every venue in town that's gone under during Covid has been smaller than that. Larger entities have never been interested in operating small venues because their size limits revenue too much relative to fixed costs, and Covid isn't going to change that calculation.

The arenas, halls, etc. will obviously be fine; Taylor Swift will still have options. Everybody else is in trouble.

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Never getting to the Fuzzstival they had every year.

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Again.

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There just appeared to be way too many people working there for a show.

Brighton Music Hall, which has a somewhat same capacity as ONCE does it with a lot less.

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I'm not sure where you're getting this. There is no significant difference between the staffing levels at ONCE and BMH.

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The shows I have seen at ONCE - Nobody knew how to run a bar or get people into the venue.

The shows I have seen at BMH - They know how to run a bar and get people into the venue.

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I'm an older conservative man who recently moved near ONCE in 2017 and I will say, I never stepped foot inside. What I did observe since then was a lot of musical acts coming through that brought in many, many happy fans and that venue, as well as many of the local businesses benefited. Sad for all the fervent concert goers, I wonder if the church upstairs will absorb it.

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was, back in April or May, to rapidly permit moving all of this venue's indoor shows outdoors, to the parking lot behind it or the one across the street from it. The city could have also tried to arrange the same thing for Thunder Road and Bull McCabe's instead of letting them close.

The venues would still have had to close down for the winter, but perhaps a steady stream of outdoor performances for 6-7 months would have given them enough revenue to survive.

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The state didn't allow outdoor performances until Phase III Step 1, starting July 6. The city of Somerville didn't really have the option of issuing permits in April or May (or even June.)

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Some fairly residential areas fairly close behind those venues- I’m sure 3-5 nights a week of shows behind there would have gotten old quick for those residents

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