After seven years as a practice space and concert venue, Go! Studios in Carrboro will close shop August 15, according to the club’s management.
Owner Derek Powers says a number of factors led to the decision to close the club, which is located on Brewer Lane near the Chapel Hill/Carrboro line.
“It’s been a struggle for a while. We’ve been holding benefits to try and make ends meet, but I just didn’t see anything on the horizon that would change the situation,” says Powers.
“It’s a hard business,” says Ben Dunlap, who has managed the club for the past five years. Dunlap said he’s been working with bands and booking agents to move shows to other venues, primarily Local 506.
Dunlap says he and the club’s four other employees were disappointed to hear about the decision, but not surprised.
“We’re all frustrated, yes,” he says, “but most of all the mood is that we’re damn tired. It’s been a long haul.”
Cat’s Cradle owner Frank Heath, who channeled a lot of national acts to the smaller venue, says losing the club means losing a place to book newer and smaller acts. Heath says he hopes that other clubs in the area will be able to step in and pick up some of the shows that would have been steered to Go!
Go! opened in 1998 as a rehearsal space. It was home to Ben Folds Five when they were based out of Chapel Hill and dozens of other local acts. It was an automotive repair shop prior to that, but had a short run as an all-ages music club and art space called The Turning Point in the mid-1980s.
Room 4, the largest rehearsal space, was converted into a small but comfortable club a couple of years later, but the room’s size made it difficult to generate enough revenue to satisfy the bands and pay the bills.
Powers, who took over the club in 2000, says in addition to losing the venue, the loss of rehearsal space is significant.
“Obviously, it’s been an integral part of the music scene,” he says. “It’s one less place for bands to play and rehearse.”
Dunlap says another downside is that the area is losing a longtime all-ages venue.
Future plans for the space, owned by Chapel Hill developer Tom Tucker, have not been firmed up, Powers says, adding that there has been some interest in retaining it as a rock club.