Under construction: Music Farm at Tin Roof | photo by Jordan Lawrence
It’s a hot Thursday in early May, and clouds of dust puff into the air from just behind Tin Roof.
Trae Judy stands on the side of Senate Street, and nods toward a husk of a building.
“Welcome to the Music Farm,” he chuckles.
When it’s done, Music Farm at Tin Roof will be a sizable concert hall, but right now, it isn’t much of anything. In December, when Free Times first reported the City Center Design/Development District’s approval of the plan by the Nashville-based restaurant chain Tin Roof and Charleston-based Music Farm Productions to renovate the vacant building next to Tin Roof’s Senate Street location into a concert hall and beer garden, Judy, who works for Music Farm, guessed that it would be open by summer. But the new venue, a sister club to the Music Farm operating in Charleston, is still under construction. It’s slated to become a much needed midsize music room, something Columbia has done without for more than a few years.
While Judy emphasizes that there’s no date set for the venue’s official opening, he indicates that the room will be open by September.
Inside, about 15 workers buzz. Some install wiring; some place insulation; some carry out the ongoing demolition. They’ve torn up the floor a few times already, most recently to install a new drainage pipe: Water streamed down the steep hill that runs from the State House, flooding the floor.
“We’ve basically gutted the whole room,” Judy says. His voice is hard to hear over the din of construction around him: the whining whir of circular saws, the percussive bursts from jackhammers. “Everything’s going to be new, from the toilets to the bar tops. Everything.”
In the next seven days, the framing for the bars should go up. Then the dressing rooms and bathrooms. In two weeks the entire place will look completely different.
Despite the obstacles presented by the space, Judy says that the Vista is a perfect location: It’s right across from the Hilton, which touring acts will like. The nearby parking garages will ostensibly alleviate parking jams during bigger shows. But the club offers just as much to the local bands looking to grow their audience and for promoters looking to bring in top-flight acts.
“Now, there’s nowhere I would do shows,” says Dave Britt, a longtime fixture of the local music scene. Britt, who books the annual Rosewood Crawfish Festival, is a former club owner, too, of The White Mule on Main Street and Headliners, which he co-ran with Judy. “I’ve had to turn away a lot of things because there wasn’t anywhere to put it.”
It’s still too early for Judy to predict the venue’s exact capacity, but he estimates it should hold upwards of 1,000 people. But that capacity will be flexible: Rows of mobile decking installed on the building’s Pendleton Street side will be used to shrink the capacity for more intimate shows.
That flexibility will likely be a boon for Music Farm, Britt says, as it will provide local bands a bigger room without forcing them to play to a mostly empty hall. With a capacity of 400, New Brookland Tavern is currently the city’s biggest rock club.
“If a band grows past NBT, where do they go?” Britt offers, adding that the expected support opportunities on big-time tours will help bands grow their local audience. Charlotte’s Junior Astronomers, a frequent Columbia visitor, recently opened a date for Modest Mouse in their hometown, the kind of chance Music Farm might provide.
Judy says that Music Farm at Tin Roof already has shows booked for its September and October calendars. And he’s fielding offers for tour packages that run though other cities where Music Farm Productions books shows, such as Charlotte and Charleston.
But without local support, Judy knows it won’t work. And he knows he’s facing a city with an I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it attitude. Outside, by Tin Roof’s roll-up door, he nods. He doesn’t have a venue yet, but he does have one promising thing.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: email@example.com.
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Currently seeking a friendly & detail-oriented individual for an Administrative Assistant/Data Entry Clerk position on our Administrative Office team. Primary responsibilities include: Data entry, process incoming & outgoing mail, good communication skills required. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com