CBGB Owners Plan Festival, Seek New LocationPosted by Timothy Grisham
In March we heard the vague rumblings that CBGB, the ancestral home of punk rock, was launching a festival. Now, we have word that the former venue, now with new investors, is not only launching a massive multi-day festival, but looking for a new location to relaunch the venue itself.
For the last six years CBGB has been little more than a logo on t-shirts sold in stores such as Hot Topic. Now a new group of investors have bought the assets of the famous club, which closed in 2006, with plans to establish a massive multi-venue music festival this summer, and an eye toward reopening the venue.
The new owners of the club’s assets, which include some with ties to the original establishment, say they hope that the festival will revive the wide-open artistic aesthetic associated with CBGB, a club famous for launching the careers of The Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, Patti Smith and more.
“We’re never going to recreate that moment in time,” Tim Hayes, one of the investors told the New York Times. “We’re trying to continue the idea of supporting live music, making a lot of noise and being a part of New York City.”
The four-day festival, beginning on July 5, intends on going a long way towards supporting live music in the city, with nearly 300 rock bands performing in 30 venues, from large stages like Central Park Summerstage and Webster Hall to small clubs like the Trash Bar in Williamsburg.
Headlining a hardcore showcase at Webster Hall will be the Cro-Mags, Vision of Disorder and Sick of It All, all groups with strong ties to CBGB and the Lower East Side. The festival will also stage a free concert at the Central Park Summerstage with Guided by Voices, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Cloud Nothings. The festival also includes film screenings and workshops geared to artists just starting in the music business.
Lisa Kristal Burgman, who controlled the estate that owned the rights to the club, prior to selling the assets to Mr. Hayes’ investment group, told the New York Times, “It’s a relief to know that it’s not going to die, it’s going to be reborn.”
[Full disclosure, Timothy Grisham the author of this piece worked for CBGB OMFUG under original owner Hilly Kristal]