May 31, 2024 - Music

Nashville venue Drkmttr reaches fundraising goal

The crowd takes in a recent show at Drkmttr

The crowd takes in a recent show at Drkmttr. Photo: Merit Gentile/courtesy of Drkmttr

The independent music venue Drkmttr recently achieved its goal of raising the $15,000 it needed to stay open.

Why it matters: The fundraising success, aided by the Music Venue Alliance Nashville (MVAN) advocacy group, is a win for independent venues amid a gritty few years.

State of play: The pandemic pushed independent venues to the brink. Longtime operators of Exit/In and Mercy Lounge saw their tenures running those venues come to an end.

What she's saying: Olivia Scibelli, co-owner of Drkmttr, tells Axios "it was so relieving" when the venue hit its fundraising goal. Drkmttr, which opened in 2015, plans to use the money to bridge the gap as it transitions into a nonprofit organization.

  • MVAN launched in 2017 to advocate for the city's independent venues. The group was vital in securing pandemic relief funds for music venues, which were subject to government shutdown orders. MVAN contributed $5,000 toward Drkmttr's fundraising campaign. As of Friday morning, the fundraising campaign earned $15,460.
  • "I think the support from MVAN has been really important for us. I think solidarity within the indie venue community is the thing that's going to give everyone more longevity," Scibelli says.

Zoom in: Scibelli says Drkmttr's programming won't drastically change after the venue becomes a nonprofit. The new tax status allows Drkmttr to qualify for new grant funding.

  • "We've done a quilt mentality of patching together things we feel like are needed in the moment," she said. "I would like to do more things aimed at youth and music."

The bottom line: Scibelli says Drkmttr strives to serve the community like other arts-focused nonprofits do. She singled out the nonprofit Belcourt Theatre as a model that Drkmttr's operators admire.

  • "Their ticket prices are so reasonable. They program amazing things. They do so much for the community, and they do classes on the outside and have their mobile theater."
  • "That's how I feel about Drkmttr. We have really, really good shows that come through here from national acts, legacy acts and local people. That is so valuable. It's not a museum in the way that it's about history, but it's an important pillar of the community."
  • "And to that extent, you want to keep it accessible and in line with your mission of what the community actually needs."
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