What to know about the Neighborhood Theatre in Charlotte and its Fight to Keep its Doors Open
Live music is abundant in Charlotte. One of the more iconic places to see a live show is the Neighborhood Theater, initially named the Astor Theatre when it was built as a movie theater in 1945. It closed in the late 70’s, then underwent restoration in 1997 where it was converted into a live performance venue. They are located in NoDa, Charlotte’s historic arts district, where they are surrounded by restaurants, shops, and bars.
Neighborhood Theatre is the perfect location to see a show from your old favorites or discover a new band. They host both local and nationally known acts. There is a long list of big-name musicians that have come to play there through the years, including the Avett Brothers, Black Crowes, and Joan Baez.
If you were to visit its location today, however, you would find a very colorful statement written on its marquee that says what we’re all thinking about COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte is in critical condition. Over the 24-year history of the venue, there have been several moments where the owner and the public were concerned that the Theatre would permanently shut its doors, but this pandemic may be the closest it’s ever come.
The Theater was the first to close during the shutdown and it looks like they may be the last to reopen. Unlike restaurants and retail stores, music venues can’t do “take-out-music” so the venue has taken quite the heavy hit. There is zero revenue and no work for the approximately 25 staff for the foreseeable future.
Over the past five years, Charlotte has seen many of its music venues shut their doors, including the Double Door Inn, Chop Shop, and Tremont. Many believe it would be devastating to both the city’s music scene and economy to see more venues close up shop during this crisis. Maxx Music, which owns the Neighborhood Theater in Charlotte, is becoming more creative in trying to find ways to stay open during the pandemic.
They have started a Patreon site to provide membership benefits to music fans who attend concerts. The group is also selling T-shirts to generate additional revenue as well as a GoFundMe page that was started early May with a goal to raise $50,000, a goal that has almost been reached.
From their GoFundMe page, they thank those who have contributed over the years saying that, with their support, the theater has survived as the largest independent music venue in Charlotte and a cornerstone in the NoDa neighborhood.
Many Charlotte natives fear the future of the Neighborhood Theater. On the GoFundMe page there are comments stating how losing it would be a loss to the community.
One even states that, “While Charlotte’s cultural fabric is slowly slipping away, places like Neighborhood Theater remind us of the community and soul of our city.”
The owner of Maxx Music has stated that the landlord has been very patient about paying their bills. He finds that adding to the frustration of this pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to the strongest year for the Theater.
The Theater has certainly had to take a step backwards and the recovery will take some time but the end of the GoFundMe page optimistically states, “With your support, we look forward to a big 25th Anniversary Party next year!” So we can hopefully look forward to that with them.