struggling venue Barbes launches crowdfunding campaign ++ benefit show
Park Slope venue Barbes just celebrated its 15th birthday, and continues to bring live music -- from tropicalia and Slavic soul, to jazz, afrobeat, and more -- seven nights a week. Barbes has been struggling to stay open, though, in the current, never-ending NYC real estate boom:
Surviving as a small business in this new, re-branded Brooklyn has become a sometimes insurmountable challenge. The overall price of doing business has increased tremendously (higher rent, increase in the cost of goods, services, permits, insurance etc.. ) and we have accumulated a debt that our dwindling profit margin has made nearly impossible to manage: $50,000 owed to our bank and $20,000 owed to our landlord – most of it for city services related costs that, over the past few years, have spiraled out of control.
Our landlord had thus far been understanding, but as the city has now placed a lien on his building, we are faced with a hard deadline: pay $20,000 by July 1st.
Our credit line has reached its ceiling and our personal credit doesn’t allow us to borrow any more. Barbès has no assets - our only assets are the musicians who have chosen Barbès as a creative home, and the Barbès audience that comes and supports them.
So, we turn to you. Raising the full $70,000 we owe would insure that we stay in business for at least another five years - when our second lease ends. In this current economic and political climate, five years feels reasonably close to an eternity. Having a sounder financial base might even enable us continue longer, but we are still a few bridges away from that particular crossing.
Of course, you’re probably asking yourself why you should help. It’s a fair question, and we may not have a good answer. We do think that we’ve built a place that is different from any other - and that what we are adding to the Brooklyn cultural landscape is worth preserving. On the other hand, times are indeed changing: we may have ceased to be relevant and may deserve the slow death that seems to be awaiting us.
We hope not.
In any case, we do believe that for the past fifteen years, Barbès has played host to a vibrant community and acted as a laboratory for all kinds of new music. We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve achieved and are thankful to all of you for being a part of it. We have every intention of surviving for however long we can - or at the very least until the end of our current lease, five years from now.
Paying back our debt would insure just that - at least five more years of Barbes as we know it.
There will be a Barbes fundraiser at Drom on June 9 with Innov Gnawa, Big Lazy, Fanfare Barbès (ft. members of Slavic Soul Party, Red Barat and Banda de Los Muertos), Bulla en el Barrio, DJ little Dynasty and more to be announced. Tickets are on sale now.