'Save That Stage' fundraiser could help NC live music venues survive COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Triangle hosts one of the hottest local music scenes in the nation. Well, that is, it did, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Now most of the smaller locally-owned clubs and theatres that host live shows are shut down, and they're in trouble, according to Thorne Daubenspeck, the executive director of Band Together.

"This is an area where there is so many up and coming acts. You see it all the time. These incredible local talents. And, to me, the heart and soul of our community is these small venues," Daubenspeck told ABC11.

His non-profit uses proceeds from live music events to help other non-profit groups.

While some of its shows are at large publicly-owned venues, many are at privately-owned local music halls from Cat's Cradle in Carrboro to Motoroco in Durham to the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Raleigh.

"All these music venues downtown Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham, across the country, we need help," said Chris Malarkey who manages the Lincoln Theatre.

Like almost all privately-owned music venues, the Lincoln Theatre has been dark since mid-March. Malarkey worries that some local venues may not survive.

"There's already venues across the country that are--venues that have been around for 20 to 30 years, some even longer than that--that are folding," he said.

To help these venues, Band Together joined with other sponsors to hold a fundraiser called Save That Stage.

Live music fans are asked to consider donating some or all of what they normally would have spent this year on tickets to live music events.

Daubenspeck said without those donations there may not be places to see live music once the pandemic is over noting, "There is nothing like seeing an artist perform in a small environment in front of live crowd. And, you know, it's definitely that buzz, that vibe that feeling that we all love so much. And it would be heartbreaking not to be able to have these smaller venues that we can go to once this is over."

Malarkey is humbled by the effort of music fans to save the Lincoln Theatre and other venues like it across the Triangle saying, "It's a really heartwarming thing."

If you want to help, click on this link to Save That Stage.
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