CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Old concert posters are signs of what would have been. The dates have come and gone, but there hasn't been a show at the Neighborhood Theatre in NoDa for more than two months. COVID-19 is threatening to keep them closed for good.
The entertainment industry has been decimated by the coronavirus. As a result, hundreds of independent music venues across the country are struggling to survive, including the Neighborhood Theatre.
The Neighborhood Theatre is a staple in NoDa having been there for nearly 25 years. Social distancing guidelines will keep them from selling out a normal sized show for the foreseeable future.
"No one is buying tickets, no one is buying drinks at the bar. It's been quite devastating,” said Gregg McCraw with Maxx Music.
The Neighborhood Theatre the largest independent music venue in Charlotte. Bills are adding up and with no revenue coming in, they had to ask for help. They can't go to the ticket counter right now, but the community is still showing the theatre love on Go Fund Me. More than $40,000 been donated in less than a week.
“To see the number of people who donated money, especially right now when a lot of people can't afford to donate money, has just been overwhelming,” said McCraw.
Entertainment venues can start back up again during Phase 3 of Governor Roy Cooper's plan to reopen the state. But it's not clear at this point how many people the will be allowed in the crowd.
The Neighborhood Theatre's capacity is 1,000 people. Realistically, they know it could be less than half of that if they do reopen.
“That impacts our revenue and what we're able to pay bands,” says McCraw.
It's a dire situation, but with a community showing them this much support when they need it most, when the theatre reopens, the top priority will be safety.
“When will people feel comfortable coming back out knowing that we are not putting them in danger? The last thing we want to do is to put our staff in danger, the artist in danger, and our patrons in danger,” said McCraw.