Problem bigger than First Avenue

The fight for the indie does not just start and end – it is a continuing struggle.

The complexity of the fight for the indie escalates as time goes on and the population rises – it is not as cut and dry as “saving” First Avenue.

First Avenue is not able to house bands with audiences that exceed its capacity, nor can it afford to even when it is prospering, thus larger Clear Channel Communications Inc. venues become a necessity.

As a landmark, First Avenue’s endurance is an inspiration to every struggling independent business.

General Manager Stephen McClellan is an extremely active member of the Minneapolis community, and fights for independent businesses everyday.

However, Clear Channel talent buyer Rich Best fought for the indie and worked at First Avenue for years before working at Clear Channel.

Why did Best feel he needed to make the switch? This is what needs to be resolved to fight for unique independent ideas, not just reopening First Avenue’s doors.

Although an independent, active participant of the community, First Avenue was a business. The independents of Minneapolis are in competition, especially as Minneapolis becomes a “cookie-cutter city” and it is harder for independent businesses to survive.

The community must rally for the independents, not just to reopen First Avenue’s doors and then go back to everyday hustle and bustle.

The fight for the indie does not just start and end in this manner – it is a continuing struggle.

When the doors open, the community has to have the interest to go to the shows and buy the drinks, then to research and experience independent music, and volunteer for the Developing Arts and Music Foundation (which might or might not be affiliated with First Avenue if/when it reopens) or radio station KFAI, and that is a lot of work.

First Avenue is going to need a lot more help than just reopening its doors to maintain its status as an independent beacon of hope.

Meghan Greene is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]