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Mesa music venue closes amid COVID-19 pandemic as others in Valley struggle to stay afloat

Club Red in Mesa is closing its doors after wading through a year of the pandemic with few events.

MESA, Ariz. — All businesses have had to adjust because of the pandemic, but local music venues are struggling to survive because they can’t host concerts.

Club Red in Mesa closing its doors 

Club Red has been at the corner of Alma School and University Drive since 2014. But the pandemic is forcing them to close down.

“It’s been a really tough year,” Paul Benson, owner of Club Red, said.

Club Red is just one of several venues in the Valley that has had to keep a mostly empty stage during the pandemic.

“It’s a massive financial responsibility,” Benson said.

Benson said the decision to close was difficult, but it came down to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

“More important to save every penny that we possibly can so that we can reopen even if that means in a new location,” Benson said.

Valley venues struggle, try to adapt without concerts 

Since March, Valley venues have been doing their best to stay afloat. But because the virus, shows and concerts have been postponed, moved, cancelled and more.

“There’s no takeout or online version of live music,” Stephen Chilton, owner of The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix said.

The Rebel Lounge in Phoenix added a coffee shop back in October 2020 in hopes of making it through the pandemic.

“Nowhere near a substitute for what we were doing,” Chilton said. “Right now every little bit helps.”

Chilton said the local music scene is waiting anxiously for when stage lights can turn on again.

“Frustrating one is it all depends on vaccine rollout and vaccine adoption and things that are entirely out of our hands and entirely out of our industry,” Chilton said.

Chilton is concerned venues won’t make it to when concerts can resume.

“We could see more close before this is over,” Chilton said.

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