Jan 14, 2022 - Business

3rd and Lindsley quietly turns 30

Joy Oladokun performs at 3rd and Lindsley in June, 2021 holding a guitar.
Joy Oladokun performs at 3rd and Lindsley in June, 2021. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Flying under the radar due to a brutal year for music venues, SoBro club 3rd and Lindsley quietly celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2021 without any fanfare.

  • Few industries celebrate milestone anniversaries with more gusto than the music business. Owner Ron Brice tells Axios he'd like to commemorate the accomplishment early this year but doesn't much feel like celebrating right now.
  • "Obviously we had some things in mind to make a big deal of it. But we just said to heck with it," Brice says, adding a celebration could be planned for later in the year.

Why it matters: 3rd and Lindsley has been a vital cog in Nashville's live music scene. It's a unique concert venue capable of hosting intimate songwriter rounds, up-and-coming local bands, and touring artists.

  • Little Big Town, Lady A, and Kacey Musgraves are among the artists who graced the stage there before becoming huge stars.

What he's saying: "I'm one of those guys that I don't look backwards too much, I mostly look forward," Brice says. "It's really not about me. It's the artists and my staff and all the people who make it work. I'm just a gatherer of talent and trying to do cool shows."

  • "I love the people I've been on this journey with," Brice says. "That's what I think about most."

Between the lines: After being shut down for months, the club reopened in October. It was just getting back into the swing of things when the latest COVID-19 surge hit and chaos returned.

  • Between navigating public health protocols, facing capacity restrictions and artists canceling gigs, venues have had a difficult time running their businesses.

Yes, but: Even before the pandemic, Nashville's independent music venues have endured a brutal stretch. The Exit/In rock club was sold to new owners, likely leading to current operators being forced out.

  • The operator of the Mercy Lounge trio of clubs announced they would have to relocate from the Cannery complex.
  • The skyrocketing real estate market and corporatization of live music are pushing independent clubs such as 3rd and Lindsley to the brink.

The bottom line: "Just trying to keep our heads down at this point is all we can do," Brice says.

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