Beerland says shows won’t be cancelled; fundraising for employees underway
Following the sale of Austin venue Beerland to an unnamed buyer by owner Richard Lynn, an anonymous letter began spreading on social media, credited to employees of the venue. "We have been dealing with our paychecks bouncing since SXSW and there has been absolutely no transparency on the owner’s part," it reads. "For months we’ve been working solely on the vague promise that we’ll get paid for our labor and have no idea when/if we’re going to get reimbursed for the hours we work." Since word of their plight circulated, a couple of benefit shows for Beerland employees have been announced at other Austin clubs, Austin360 reports. One, the "Little Secret Happy Hour (Benefit for Beerland Employees)" happened on Wednesday night (5/29) at The Parish, and another happens on June 6 at Empire Control Room & Garage. From the Facebook event:
Our friends who have been keeping the dream alive for a lot of bands touring through Austin are in a tight spot. They haven't been paid since SXSW.
So far, Broken Gold has confirmed to play- others will be announced soon. To help raise money for the Beer Land staff there will be raffles and giveaways, a bake sale and BBQ! This is not only a good cause but also a lot of fun.
The goal is to get these people paid for the time that they have dedicated to a monument of local and touring acts that aren't big enough to have a company book for them and let them know the Austin music community is not just a bunch of people that only care about themselves. I hate to think about the people keeping what I loved alive in this town are feeling discouraged and can't even eat at times. We care. We want live music to be alive in Austin.
A GoFundMe has also been launched to support the staff of Beerland, and that of Super Secret Records, which shares an owner in Richard Lynn. From its description:
The staff of two businesses under the same owner-- Beerland and Super Secret Records-- have been struggling with bouncing paychecks or no paychecks for months now. After about half of the employees finally received back pay, it's still estimated it to be over $16,000 owed. To help those who haven't been paid yet be able to pay bills and rent while we're navigating legal actions, we're asking you to donate what you can!
Everything donated within the goal will be given directly to Beerland and Super Secret Records employees who are still waiting on months of lost wages and anything over will be donated to a nonprofit!
"Beerland has played a critical role in the music community in Austin for over 18 years, and regardless of the current circumstances of ownership or what the future may hold, the people who made it their livelihoods and hung on because they believed in its value deserve the support of the community they served. This is not a replacement for the wages owed, as those will continue to be pursued. This is a lifeline to those who worked so hard to keep this special place going."
Meanwhile, Beerland has posted a single new message on their Facebook since announcing the venue's sale. "Despite rumors to the contrary," it reads, "shows have not been canceled by Beerland. We will be ready and staffed to host the shows as planned. More details coming but we wanted to make sure that was clear."