Nov 13, 2023 - News

Music Box Village has no plans to close

Drummers and an upright bassist perform at the Music Box Village. They are surrounded by eclectic tiny houses and an audience.

Tony Allen performs with members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Kumasi at The Music Box Village In 2018. Photo: Josh Brasted/Getty Images

The Music Box Village is taking a pause as its managing board of directors completes strategic planning and resets after the departure of two founders.

Why it matters: Despite rumors it's going to close, the eccentric and beloved music venue is planning to return for the spring season and will continue hosting private events.

The big picture: The Music Box is among some city venues struggling in the pandemic's wake to balance operating costs with shifting audience interests and spending habits, says Michael Glenboski, who chairs the board of Music Box's operating nonprofit, the New Orleans Airlift.

  • "A lot of what we do is pick up artists who are traveling between Atlanta and Houston, and when that's not happening, it plagues an organization like us," he says.

What's happening: In recent months, the board evaluated operating costs and considered hiring an executive director, but ultimately decided to pass on that role, Glenboski says.

  • "We have a couple months to rest, to breathe, and we are going to be doing some fundraising, and we plan to in the spring relaunch and rebrand and tell the world who our new leaders are and what we're doing," Glenboski tells Axios.

Flashback: The Music Box Village began as an art project in local music promoter Jay Pennington's backyard before it morphed into a permanent Bywater installation and venue.

  • The space is operated by the New Orleans Airlift, a nonprofit arts organization, and it has hosted a range of local and international artists alike, from the Lost Bayou Ramblers and Tank and the Bangas to Norah Jones and Gogol Bordello.
  • Pennington moved on to other projects in 2022, and his co-founder, Delaney Martin, followed suit earlier this year.
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