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The Post  
Boot and Saddle Closes Permanently Due to COVID-19; Philly Independent Music Venue Shuts Down
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 11/10/20 1:34 pm | updated: 11/10/20 1:34 pm
Boot and Saddle, the indie rock venue on Broad Street in South Philadelphia, became the first major casualty of coronavirus COVID-19 to Philadelphia's music scene on Tuesday, 11/10, as it announced that it will close permanently. It has been temporarily closed since mid-March, as most other venues in the city, and simply could not continue to pay all the bills while having no revenue. Sean Agnew co-owns the 150-person club with Bowery Presents. He also co-owns the much larger Union Transfer at 10th and Spring Garden. Agnew said the move to close Boot & Saddle was to ultimately save Union Transfer. (Warmdaddy's closed in the summer, but will reopen in North Philly this month)

The live event business was the first to close down and will be the last to restart amidst this pandemic. Theaters and venues, unlike some other businesses, can't operate at half capacity. The National Independent Venue Association says that 90% of independent venues will be forced to closed if nothing is done to help. They simply will not be able to carry on paying the bills without having shows. There is a $10 billion bipartisan Save Our Stages Act waiting to be passed as part of the next stimulus package that would send aid to the industry. In the meantime, NIVA has set up an emergency fund to help struggling venues. There is a separate PA Save Our Stages Act for the state of Pennsylvania. You can sign a petition in support.

DONATE: NIVA ERF- The National Independent Venue Association Emergency Relief Fund

SIGN PETITION: Help Save Pennsylvania's Independent Venues Affected by COVID-19

Statement from Boot & Saddle:

Hey Everyone. Hope everyone has a joyous weekend like we did!

With that said, we have some sad news to share.

After seven years and 1,500+ shows, we are now forced to close Boot & Saddle.

With Covid-19 cases back on the rise in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and around the country, the thought of having 200 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our small indoor bar early next year has faded. After eight months without a show, and without a clear reopening date in sight, we no longer have the luxury of paying the bills and expenses for two closed venues. And so, we have made the difficult decision to close Boot & Saddle for good. We hope that this decision will assure that our sister venue, Union Transfer, can survive well into 2021.

We sincerely appreciate all the support over the years. From everyone who saw a show, had a drink, or played on our stage. We are proud of having provided a stage on which local Philadelphia artists can develop and grow alongside national and international touring acts.

It has been a fun and enjoyable experience from start to finish: transforming an old country & western bar, which was shuttered for eighteen years, into a bustling, live music venue with its iconic neon sign lighting up Broad Street. Boot & Saddle was where the likes of Lizzo and Sam Smith made their Philadelphia debuts. It is also where legendary icons like Thurston Moore and Psychic TV performed for intimate crowds. Where gigantic local bands like The War on Drugs, Circa Survive, and The Menzingers played unforgettable, secret shows. We like to think that over the last few years we helped contribute to the best music scene in the United States.

None of this would have been possible without all the hard work of our entire staff, past and present, especially Gina, Andy, and both Jeffs, who did an incredible job in making South Philadelphia’s first music venue in 30+ years into an incredible success.

In memoriam, we will be creating an R.I.P. Boot & Saddle Benefit T-shirt, if you feel inclined to support the venue one last time. Portions of the proceeds will go towards continuing to pay our full time staff’s health care during the pandemic, as well as keeping the lights on at Union Transfer (for which we very much intend to not have to make an R.I.P. Union Transfer Benefit T-shirt). Check our social media channels in the coming days for that!

We would like to take this final opportunity to remind everyone that local independent venues in our city and across the country are in grave danger. Live Music Venues were the first businesses to close and they will be the last to re-open. As other restaurants, bars and stadiums begin to re-open, our doors remain shut. We cannot sell you a contactless takeout or curbside delivery concert. Without some form of assistance, our local music scene right here in Philly, along with countless others across the country, may collapse. We will keep our socials active, so that we can from time to time pass along news and actions that you can take, to help ensure that the remaining venues in Philly stay open.

If you have a ticket to a previously postponed show at Boot & Saddle, we will be reaching out later today. Keep an eye out for those details.

For the next week, we will keep the neon lights on at Broad Street to remind everyone of what was. Grab a pic while you can and tag us.
Thank you for the memories, and we hope to see you at Union Transfer.

- xo B&S

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