Another popular Austin music venue shutters citing high rents and COVID-19 crisis
Another Red River Cultural Heritage District venue is shuttering. Just hours after neighbors Plush and Barracuda announced they would be closing, Scratchouse told its social media following that it would too be saying goodbye.
“We are so grateful for the years you spent with us, and the amazing community of artists that came together in our space,” read a message on its Instagram page. “It is a shame that high rents and COVID-19 are displacing so many venues, but Austin’s artistic community will remain vibrant even as they are priced out of downtown.”
Scratchouse opened in 2016, occupying a space that had once been home to Beauty Bar and Holy Mountain. The 18-and-up club became a home to local hip hop, electronic, and dance acts.
The cancellation of SXSW and the stay-at-home order instituted on March 13 has hit Austin's business community hard, and the local music industry is particularly susceptible to closure during this time because many venues were already struggling to pay downtown rents.
At the end of March, Scratchouse established a GoFundMe in an effort to keep its doors open. The fundraiser, however, only raised $3,280 of its initial $10,000 goal. “We have always taken pride in supporting the underground music scene and culture,” the fundraiser reads. “We have done so much for the local artist and scene, and we need y’all’s help during these dark times.”
The venue promised that it would begin to livestream shows in an effort to “keep the music alive,” but it was ultimately not enough to keep the venue operating throughout the pandemic.
“We love all of our supporters and we are forever grateful for the support,” the operators wrote. “Y’all give us the opportunity to create a safe culture for everyone to enjoy. The underground movement has provided a family for so many people, and it touches our hearts that you look to us to provide that.”