Arts, Features

Great Scott successfully fundraises reopening, finds new Allston location

Great Scott, an independent music venue that has been an Allston landmark for more than 40 years, announced its relocation after months of uncertainty following the termination of its lease. Carl Lavin, the booking manager, has been heading a campaign to finance the venue’s move and support its employees through the pandemic.

Allston’s independent music venue Great Scott, which closed in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will relocate to the former location of Regina Pizzeria in Allston. LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Lavin posted on Great Scott’s Facebook page on Sept. 30, the last day of the campaign, urging new donors and delivering good news.

“The support from 700 investors that has resulted in over $275,000 in investments is nothing short of mind-boggling,” Lavin wrote. “I’d like to say I appreciate it, but it’s more that I admire and recognize the passion and dedication to live music and the arts in Boston and the important role it plays in making Boston what it is for so many people.”

He also wrote an update on Mainvest — the investing platform that handled Great Scott’s donations — detailing the new plan for the awaited reopening. After its initial closure in May, Great Scott tried to stay in its original building at 1222 Commonwealth Ave., but the relocation plan worked out.

The new Great Scott will take up shop in Allston again, this time in place of the former Regina Pizzeria at 353 Cambridge St.

Sam Casey, a senior in Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences, grew up in Boston and has been going to Great Scott since she could get into its 18+ shows. Since the closing in the spring, she and her friends had donated to the fundraiser and closely followed news of the venue’s return.

Casey said she frequented the venue during her time at BU and was happy to learn of its reopening, despite the change in location.

“It was really nice to see the community coming together like that and raising money, both for the space and for the people who were directly impacted by it closing,” Casey said. “It’ll still feel like Great Scott when it opens, I think.”

Local musician Nick Romanow said all three of his bands have played at Great Scott, including his current band Glass House. He said he appreciated the venue’s “welcoming community.”

“To me, that’s kind of the No. 1 thing that made it special,” Romanow said. “Compared to some of the other venues in Boston was just how kind and sincere and sweet and welcoming everyone that works there was.”

Romanow said he has known Lavin since he interned at Great Scott after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. With Lavin heading up the campaign fund, Romanow said he made sure to contribute to bringing his favorite venue back.

“Carl, I have the utmost faith in. I think he’s going to make it exactly as special, if not more special,” Romanow said. “Great Scott or not, that’s just the loss of live music that we’ve been experiencing since March. Going back to any show is going to be amazing.”

As Boston awaits progressing toward the next phase of reopening, Great Scott’s opening schedules are still uncertain.

While the relocation means the original Great Scott is gone, Romanow said the new location won’t feel too different.

“Playing a show at a place called Great Scott in Allston, that’s going to be extra special,” Romanow said, “but I think even five or 10 years down the line when the novelty wears off, I think it’s still going to feel special because again, it all comes down to the people and
Carl is a really special person.”

One Comment

  1. As much as I’d love to see a Great Scott re-opening (and I would) – this just doesn’t add up.

    As I understand it, a total of $300K has been raised for this project. Permitting alone could cost $100K. I don’t see how this project can be completed without additional financing and I don’t see how that finance can be secured when there is no clear timetable for the end of the pandemic.

    Add to that the residences at 15 Franklin Street whose occupants were not particularly warm to the operators of Sport Depot (to put that mildly). It’s hard to see them not objecting to a music club.

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