Historic Concert Venue The Warehouse has set the standard for quality live music for 22 years, all while maintaining an all ages, smoke-free, and alcohol-free environment. Unbelievably, despite establishing a legacy of showcasing the best in local and national new talent, The Warehouse’s future is precariously close to being destroyed because their strict policy of not making local bands pay (see below) has caused a great reduction in the income of the venue, as opposed to a normal alcohol-selling, band-bilking venue. Some of the bills have snowballed over the past half a decade, as property taxes have multiplied and the mortgage has fallen behind, and the venue now faces foreclosure on two fronts. Two months ago the bank stated that The Warehouse would have to be sold to developers and would most likely end up as residential units and the County is considering foreclosure because of the back taxes.
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The remarkable team at The Warehouse has brought together a campaign to save The Warehouse, utilizing IndieGoGo to raise funds, and offering fans phenomenal perks for contributing!
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The IndieGoGo Warehouse Rescue Campaign was put in place to throw a wrench into that process, but the deadline to reach the amount needed is August 22. The goal is to reach enough funds to pay off the back property taxes, pay a small portion of the mortgage to bring down the mortgage payments, to pay off the existing backed up bills from the City (water/sewer/business property taxes), pay off other backed up bills from trash pick up, BMI, phone, window repair, other building maintenance, and get out from under the pressing financial issues. At that point, if the goal is met, Warehouse intends to go through the steps to become a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization (since their accountant has always insisted they are “anti-profit” by default), allowing much more flexibility in funding, and hopefully be able to utilize the building to the benefit of the community even further by bringing in national speakers to talk to kids about the music business, allow media majors to set up video shoots for local bands in a real world environment, allow local music stores to set up clinics in a real world live performance environment, and allow the main room to be used for young bands “first rehearsal on stage” so that they are not hitting the stage cold on their first gig, etc.; all things that are not currently financially feasible because of the time involved.
Artists are also pulling together and speaking up to save the legendary venue:
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The campaign to “rescue” The Warehouse before it falls victim to developers is not a campaign to save a venue that is new, that is sketchy, that is inexperienced. Twenty-two years of work providing a safe place for generations of kids is just the beginning of what could be, with a track record of two decades of amazing things that already have been. Hopefully, music industry personnel, venue fans, music fans, and musical philanthropists will see the value in The Warehouse Rescue Campaign. – Stephen Harm – Founder/Owner The Warehouse
The Warehouse has a 22+ year history of providing an alcohol-free concert environment for an all-ages crowd, in a city and state that thrives on alcohol. An oasis of rock n’ roll in the middle of a sea of bars, The Warehouse has showcased local, regional, national, and international bands for crowds of kids and adults alike. Descendents, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Motion City Soundtrack, Hawthorne Heights, Everclear, and over 8000 more bands have all played at The Warehouse, and in a little town in the Midwest with a population of just 50,000 people.
Bringing bands to a city that is 2.5 hours away from the next major metropolitan area has meant that generations of La Crosse area kids have been able to see bands that they ordinarily would have to travel to see. This also means that the average age of kids seeing concerts in town is lower than if they had to travel. More kids seeing bands at a younger age leads to more kids wanting to be in bands. La Crosse has one of the best guitar stores in the world, Daves Guitar Shop, as well as 3 additional music equipment stores and a new shop specializing in drums. Pretty amazing for a city of this size. But they start young in La Crosse, because of the work of everyone at The Warehouse.
Since its inception, the maintenance of The Warehouse has been undertaken by volunteer staff unlike any other in the country. Not merely some kids wearing “staff” shirts who want to see free shows and meet bands, these are guys who grew up at The Warehouse going to shows, and have since gone on to handling all facets of the production. Steve, who started the venue with 4 partners in 1991 (they all bailed rapidly), has been there since Day 1. Rich, the pre-show stage manager/doorman, has been volunteering for 15+ years. He estimates missing a dozen or so shows in that amount of time. Other staff members have been at The Warehouse for anywhere between 5-14 years, giving up their free time to make sure La Crosse kids have a vibrant music scene free of alcohol.