Join the club: Bushwick venue introduces annual memberships

Join the club: Bushwick venue introduces annual memberships
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

In the new year, forget that gym membership — a scrappy Bushwick music venue is offering an all-access pass that will let indie music fans boogie the calories away.

The Silent Barn on Bushwick Avenue has a new, annual-membership model that will allow subscribers to attend as many shows and art events as they want. A member of the arts collective said she hopes the move will help stabilize its finances, and allow it to continue offering programming outside of high-decibel shows.

“This is one way to subsidize artists programs without having to struggle to sell X amount of tickets every night,” said Silent Barn fund-raising coordinator Hillary Reeves.

Memberships are $300 per year, in monthly installments of $25, which is not a bad deal for the diehard scenester, considering that door prices for recent shows have ranged from $5 to $10 and the venue says it hosted 486 in 2014. If the membership scheme were in place this past year, and someone could have found the time to attend all the concerts, that would have come out to 62 cents per show.

The money is supposed to go toward paying artists and sprucing up the sprawling, two-building complex that, in addition to performance space, includes an art gallery, studios for rent, and apartments.

“We want to be able to program better shows and build out the space so that it sounds great,” Reeves said.

One member at a time: Hillary Reeves, fund-raising coordinator for the Silent Barn, shows one of the membership buttons she hopes will help the venue keep the lights on.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The memberships went on sale the week before Christmas, and perhaps predictably in the do-it-yourself arts scene where performers and show-goers often live on a shoestring budget, only six people have signed up so far.

One member said he is happy to support the scruffy institution.

“To me, Silent Barn is about community and about making it financially sustainable to support emerging artists in New York,” said Eli Dvorkin, who was the first to purchase a membership. “I want to help support a project that continues to demonstrate its commitment to DIY ethos.”

Reeves plans to cap the number of memberships at 90, so that she can communicate with all of the members and make sure they are getting their money’s worth.

The current incarnation of the Silent Barn opened in 2012 between Jefferson and Melrose streets, rising from the ashes of its Queens location, which was laid low the year prior by a one-two punch of police, who locked it down over building violations, and burglars, who stripped it of its public-address system and other electronics and cash while no one was allowed in. The collective has made a point of securing all the proper paperwork to operate a commercial venue this time around, and has signed a 10-year lease in hopes of sticking around longer than many of its fly-by-night peers.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurf‌[email protected]‌ngloc‌al.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitt‌er.com/‌Danie‌lleFu‌rfaro.
Pin is in: Detail of the pin that will get purchasers entry to any Silent Barn show for a year.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini