“In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue”

Michael Passman has a pretty interesting piece on the challenges Austin is facing….problems that seem pretty common to a lot of other cities.

In a city that promotes itself for music, those who do it can’t afford to continue, there are fewer venues for them to do so, and those venues left are threatened with going out of business, not to mention less time in the evening for musicians to actually play.

We know the causes. People come here for SXSW, SXSW gets bigger and bigger, people decide they want to move here, the tech startup boom is ongoing, the economy is healthy, and buildings get torn down and replaced by high rise condos. It happens everywhere.

Source: Michael Passman: The Beginning of The End: Austin’s Public Face on Live Music Contradicts Reality – Blurt Magazine

The Need for Affordable Space

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As I previously mentioned, I had the honor of hosting Dan Shea and Sam Potrykus of BRAIN Arts Boston Hassle / Boston Compass in my class on Monday.


In addition to talking about unconventional venues for shows and the landscape of music venues in Boston, we also discussed an editorial that Dan recently published on Boston Hassle calling for Boston mayor Marty Walsh and his new Chief of Arts and Culture, Julie Burros to facilitate the creation of:

  • Affordable small to mid-size performance spaces for housing social artistic experiences. Such spaces serve many kinds of artists, offering space in which to perform and hone their craft before an audience.
  • More affordable living space for working artists of all kinds: sculptors, musicians, filmmakers, painters, writers, visual artists, etc. Lower rents = more time spent creating art.
  • Affordable work/ practice space for artists. Artists need private space to work on their craft. Lower work/ practice space rent = more time spent creating art.

As of Monday, Dan hadn’t received much in the way of a response from the Walsh administration, but I still think it’s important that they are bringing up these issues.

Boston’s rent crisis has already driven most of the musicians I know out of the city. Affordable practice spaces are hard to come by.

If development in Boston is not paired with affordable housing, Boston’s going to be left with the city it deserves: gentrified, but sterile…and fit only for the 1%.

These are issues that are not unique to Boston. As cities grow and developers plan, we must to be mindful of the need for space for artists of all kinds. The vitality of our cities depends on it.

via EDITORIAL: REINVIGORATING THE SOCIAL ARTISTIC EXPERIENCE IN BOSTON | Boston Hassle


  • Did the working class / artistic community already lose the fight?
  • Are our cities already gone?
  • Or is there still hope?

What do you think?