Belated post about the Satellite Ballroom

March 21st, 2008 · 10 Comments · By

So, there’s been plenty of talk, both here and elsewhere, about the Satellite Ballroom potentially closing when their sub-lease on the space is up in a few months. Everything’s still up in the air, and no decisions have been made yet, but there is a possibility that their landlord will lease the space to CVS.

This, of course, would be a disaster for Charlottesville music fans; since the closing of Starr Hill last fall, the Satellite Ballroom is now the only venue of it’s size in town. I won’t say that it’s my favorite venue in the entire world, but it’s unavoidably true that a great many successful, well-respected, independant touring bands have played at the Satellite in the 4 short years it’s been open (including Yo La Tengo, They Might Be Giants, Mogwai, Animal Collective, Cat Power, Slick Rick, Acid Mothers Temple, Boris and Akron/Family–and those are just the ones I listed off the top of my head). With the Ballroom gone, there would be no appropriate local venue for acts of that size; they’re too big for Gravity Lounge and too small for the Pavilion.

Furthermore, it would also be a strike against local businesses if the building’s lease were to change hands; Satellite Ballroom, Plan 9, Higher Grounds, and Just Curry would all be forced to close or relocate. Those four businesses are all Virginia-owned, and replacing them with a faceless national chain like CVS would be both bad for the local economy, and also breathtakingly boring. There are a half-dozen CVS outlets a mile in any direction from the Corner, and the centrally-located UVa Students are hardly in need of further convenience.

Additionally, I believe it can be convincingly argued that the Corner’s reputation as a cultural hotspot (and therefore as prime real-estate) depends largely on local businesses like the ones in this space. Surely the property value of that location has increased significantly by the presence of these businesses; I believe it was an empty warehouse / storage unit for several years before that? Although I’m neither a developer nor an economist, I believe that turning this space into a CVS would be a poor business decision, in addition to showing exceptionally poor regard for the Charlottesville community.

SO if you’re as dismayed about this (potential) news as I am, what can you do about it? I have three suggestions.

Firstly, you can write a letter to the property owner Terry Vassalos. He’s the one making the decision about what will happen to that space, and at this point it’s entirely in his hands. His business address is here:

Terry Vassalos
1420 Richmond Rd
Charlottesville, VA 22911
(434) 244-3424

I don’t know much about Terry (I’ve certainly never met him personally), but I’m led to believe that his decision is being motivated largely by economic concerns; I suggest you send a him well-reasoned argument about the value of the businesses in his space, rather than some sort of incoherent hate-mail thing (which isn’t really going to do a bit of good for anyone).

Secondly, you can spread the word and help gather support, in part by sending letters to the editors of local news outlets. Here are the three most prominent ones:

The Daily

The C-Ville


Again, well-worded and informed arguments are probably the best course of action, although I guess if you really just want to be angry and unproductive about it, you could always call the C-Ville‘s rant line. (zing!)

Lastly, you can buy Danny Shea a beer and thank him for all the tireless (and largely thankless) work that he’s done for Charlottesville music over the years. Those shows that I listed above all happened in no small part because Danny helped put them together; whatever the fate of the Ballroom, I’m sure he’ll continue to be a voice in local music — but let’s all hope he gets to keep his day job for the time being.

Tags: feature · news

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Mar 21, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks to Jake Hosen for suggesting this write-up and for tracking down everyone’s contact info. I’ve been meaning to write about this for weeks now, but wasn’t really able to sit down and take the time to articulate my thoughts about it until now (I also wanted to verify a few of the facts above and make sure the the course of action outlined above would be productive and useful — let’s keep our fingers crossed).

  • 2 From My Cold, Dead Hands, Etc. at // Mar 22, 2008 at 12:10 am

    […] nailgun isn’t letting Satellite Ballroom go without a fight. […]

  • 3 John // Mar 22, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    For people want to do something, Emily Sloan is looking to organize a meeting about this. Drop her an email at heatshock at virginia dot edu.

  • 4 The HooK Music : Blog Archive » Nailgun on the Satellite Ballroom // Mar 22, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    […] Ford over at Nailgun has one of the sharpest takes on the rumored closing of the Satellite Ballroom we’ve seen yet. The best part is the […]

  • 5 John // Mar 22, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    The current issue of the Declaration also has an article on the subject.

  • 6 Charlottesville Music Showcase » Blog Archive » Nailgun Addresses the Potential Closing of Satellite Ballroom // Mar 27, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    […] from our friends at Nailgun. You can read the post in its original location here. […]

  • 7 Further Satellite v. CVS updates and actions // Apr 18, 2008 at 2:29 am

    […] I’ve mentioned on the site before, the closing of the Satellite Ballroom is an issue that I really care about. Personally, I strongly […]

  • 8 Two shows tonight; more Satellite activism // Apr 18, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    […] to try to expand the already-prevalent wave of community support for the Satellite Ballroom, whose imminent closure is discussed in detail below. We’re not Ballroom employees, just a group of concerned local […]

  • 9 coereduhscura // May 3, 2009 at 11:12 am

    As like as an apple to an oyster. An ox is taken by the horns, and a man by the tongue. arizonaelegans, , Those fields sparse-planted, rendering meagre sheaves; What is the end of Fame? ’tis but to fill “We’l hold you twenty mark,” then said the foresters

  • 10 Скачать порно без смс и регистрации // Jan 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

    Mm, its fantastic-/