Legendary Punk Venue Might Be Forced To Close Doors

1 Jun

by Jessica Boudevin

Editor’s Note: 924 Gilman was a favorite teenage hangout for VT editor Dave Brooks. Growing up in Contra Costa County, just across the Caldecott Tunnel from Berkeley, he attended dozens of punk shows at this small cooperative venue. Two of his close college pals made a documentary film about this small club, and carloads of friends would meet at the club to see bands like A.F.I., Redemption 87 and the Swingin Utters — all Bay Area bands. The Gilman is one of the reasons that Dave got into the music business. If you’d like to share your stories about the Gilman, please email dave@venuestoday.com. We’ll be posting individual stories about the Berkeley club on our blog throughout the month.

Iconic Berkeley, Calif. punk venue, 924 Gilman, might have to permanently close after facing drastic rent hikes. On July 1, 2010, rent will jump from around $4,300 per month to almost $7,000.  The venue will have to come up with an additional $31,000 each year just to cover the difference, and that’s before the other expenses of putting on shows.

With the neighborhood around the venue being built up, and cleaned up, the dingy punk haven is having trouble fitting in. Though the club has dealt with steady rent increases in the past, but organizers at this not-for-profit organization are unsure how long they will be able to meet this sudden, much higher rent.

At the moment, 924 Gilman is asking for donations, even offering incentives like tote bags for those who can afford to donate over $25. However, begging for change can only provide assistance for a short period of time. The long-term strategies to combat the rent increase is for the club, which has long called itself non-profit, to officially attain non-profit status, according the club’s MySpace blog. Once considered a non-profit , 924 Gilman will be able to apply for government grants to keep their punk-rock dreams alive.

Named after it’s street address, 924 Gilman has served as the hub for up and coming punk artists since the 80s. Many bands, most notably Rancid, Green Day, Bad Religion and NOFX, used the venue to get their start in the punk scene.

Check out the latest update on the rent situation in this blog post from the official Gilman St Booking myspace.

A typical rowdy crowd at 924 Gilman.

Green Day at 924 Gilman.

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