Twin Cities live music venues will stay closed until at least April

Music venues across the Twin Cities have postponed or canceled all shows for the foreseeable future as the COVID-19 lockdown ramps up.

The exterior of Varsity Theater in Dinkytown on April 26, 2017.

Meagan Lynch, Daily File Photo

The exterior of Varsity Theater in Dinkytown on April 26, 2017.

by Alex Strangman

As industries across the globe take hits due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the live music industry is feeling the heat as well.

After Gov. Tim Walz declared a peacetime state of emergency, discouraging gatherings of more than 250 people and encouraging “social distancing,” music venues across the Twin Cities announced they would be shutting their doors for the time being.

Originally, the Cedar Cultural Center tried to only cancel shows on a case-by-case basis, but has canceled or postponed all shows through April 15, citing the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommendations.

“Given the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) recent recommendations about cancellations of large events, we felt that we couldn’t move forward in good conscience with that original plan. Doing so would mean ignoring the guidance of those we’ve been following to this point,” the venue said in a statement on its website.

First Avenue and its sister venues, Palace Theatre, the Fine Line, Turf Club, 7th St. Entry and the Fitzgerald Theater, postponed all shows through the end of April. Following new city and state recommendations, the Depot Tavern next to First Avenue also closed for “the foreseeable future,” said a posting on First Avenue’s website.

Both of Live Nation’s Minneapolis venues, The Fillmore and the Varsity Theater, followed suit and closed their doors for the time being.

Out of “an abundance of caution,” their box offices are closed until April 1, but according to their respective websites, all shows through the end of April have either been postponed or canceled.

The Fillmore team announced Trax Burgers and Bar, the eatery attached to the venue, will also be closed until further notice. 

The Armory released a statement this past week saying “unprecedented steps are being taken for the betterment and well being of a community we’re proud to be a part of.”

While it is not clear when the Armory will get back up and running, its website states that all shows are canceled or postponed through April 11.

These are trying times for everyone. As fans, the cancellation of shows is surely disappointing, but for artists who rely on live performances to survive, the cancellation of virtually every show is especially troubling.

In a statement, the Cedar Cultural Center reminded people of the multiple ways fans can financially support their favorite artists during this indefinite hiatus. Fans are encouraged to purchase merchandise, buy music instead of streaming it, donate directly to artists or contribute to various artist relief funds.

One such fund is the Twin Cities Music Community Trust Entertainment Industry relief fund. According to its website, “all funds donated will directly impact someone who has lost a gig due to COVID-19 and its effects on the industry,” including venue staff, stage crews, musicians, photographers and others.