Neighborhood Theatre dealing with empty seats during pandemic

Workers say they’ve hit “dire times”.

Neighborhood Theatre dealing with empty seats during pandemic

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Davidson landmark is struggling to stay afloat. The Neighborhood Theatre rests in the heart of the NoDa community and has hosted numerous up and coming bands for decades. But with the pandemic shutting down many businesses the venue finds itself in real trouble.

Most notably back in 2010 when a last-minute buyer saved the building from being torn down. The people who work there are hoping for another miracle.

“All kinds of great musicians from all over the world, it’s a very special spot.” said Lee Keen, an avid music goer who has seen well over 200 concerts at the Neighborhood Theater. “The Neighborhood theater is one of the anchors of this neighborhood. It was one of the original businesses.”

And according to people who work here, it’s had a storied past.

Gregg McCraw is a promoter with MaxxMusic.

“It was the Astrid Theater. It was the theater that served the mill village now known as NoDa. After that it was an adult theater, then became an African American Baptist Church," McCraw said.

In 2011, it was the staging area for local businesses to talk about Charlotte’s newly-enacted noise ordinance. By 2015, the theater was pulling in bigger names like Delta Rae and the Black Crowes.

In 2016, it was a stopping point for Hillary Clinton as she made a run for the presidency.

But since then, this area icon has seen some lean times. With the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been plenty of money going out, but nothing coming in. And the outlook is dire.

“Up to 1,000 independent venues could close by the end of this year.” said McCraw.

And while you may have never heard of the Electric Dream Tour or Trigger Hippy, the bands you listen to started out in small venues like this.

A GoFundMe account was set up and has already raised over $33,000 in just two days. The hope is to be able to funnel over $50,000 into these dry coffers.

“The love of music is going to help this place to make it." exclaimed Keen. "But a lots to be said and done by the time we get through all this.”

Even if they hit that $50,000 goal, organizers say it may not be enough to save this venue.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.