Brooklyn independent music venue Shea Stadium today launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to reopen as an up-to-code venue. The East Williamsburg space temporarily closed on March 9 because of "increasing pressure from the local authorities" for permit violations and infractions of city codes, and now they hope to raise $50,000 in order to get all the permits they need to be fully operational.
Since January of this year, the venue has received a series of violations from city officials relating to the legal use, zoning, and licensing of its building. This resulted in a string of heavy fines, as well as shows being cancelled, interrupted, or rescheduled, despite the fact that authorities didn't give the venue orders to vacate, or deem it unsafe. Shea Stadium's closure earlier this month also came as a result of these fines and the prospect of more to come.
"A variety of governmental and political factors threaten the existence of spaces like Shea," they said on the Kickstarter page. "We had always treated the possibility of a shutdown as inevitable but as we stare down the insanely powerful forces that stand between us and full legalization, we now know we owe it to the community to continue despite a long road ahead."
A large portion of the $50,000 they hope to raise would go towards getting renovations needed to pass inspections by the Department of Buildings, the Fire Department, and the Department of Health. Legal fees and architect fees are the second and third biggest expenses they've got on their plate, followed by health and bar permits, as well as fire safety training.
If Shea Stadium's management successfully raises the money it needs to reopen, they say that they will instate new programming to serve the venue's community, including free daytime events and workshops.
Local authorities across the country have been cracking down on DIY and independent music venues in the wake of Oakland's fatal Ghost Ship fire in December. THUMP is currently keeping track of such closures with a real-time map, and readers can submit anonymous tips via this form.
Yesterday, a coalition of advocacy groups announced that they would meet with NYC's cultural commissioner to talk about DIY venue safety.
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