Sound Museum closure cues worry for Allston music future

The city and local musicians are scrambling to cope with the impending closure of Allston’s Sound Museum. Locals fear the continued disappearance of rehearsal spaces is another sign of the continued erosion of the once-thriving cultural scene in the ‘Rock City’ district.

Various artists renting space at the long-standing rehearsal space at 155 N. Beacon St. must vacate by the end of January. at Allston.

This latest by developer IQHQ, which did not respond to a request for comment on Friday, said the Boston Plan described it as involving demolition of the current structure and replacement with a “life sciences campus totaling approximately 409,395 square feet.” . & Development Agency website.

“The project will transform an older, unremarkable building nearing the end of its useful life to reflect the size and character of the adjacent residential neighborhood and was programmed to facilitate public accessibility and revitalization of North Beacon. We will replace them with new sustainably designed buildings on the streets,” the BPDA description continues.

But the problem, according to Allston artists and activists, is that the “nondescript building” contains one of the last few practice spaces, with less scaffolding than ever before in the neighborhood. It’s about providing a pathway for a new generation of musicians.

The Sound Museum is a 40,000-square-foot building divided into nearly 100 rental rooms, estimated by multiple current and former tenants, each shared among several different bands pooling monthly leases. . No one seems to know exactly how many musicians are paying some kind of rent at any given time, and the owners haven’t spoken on the advice of their lawyers.

Sound Museum owner William “Death” Desmond, whose family has run various Sound Museum locations over the decades, declined to comment, but said the property was passed on to residents. The flyer says that with a “heavy heart” the lease ended on January 31st.

“We are working to find a place to rebuild as soon as possible, but it will take some time before we can offer an alternative practice space after we move out,” Desmond wrote earlier this month.

Various stakeholders are pointing their fingers in different directions, but few locals are happy that this particularly large and relatively inexpensive space is gone.

“For the Boston music scene, this has always been a very important connection,” said art activist and musician Nick Graeco, who said he had been a tenant of the Sound Museum many times over the years. “The city needs to work with his BPDA to approve and enforce the appropriate spaces from IQHQ, and they need to manage them properly.”

The city is aware of the commotion and sent a letter earlier this month stating that IQHQ will be donating a nearby building instead and is working on a short-term solution as an open issue for the time being. says. The final replacement building is conceived as a large, inexpensive practice space for the future.

“We recognize that this new space may not be available immediately and that current tenants will be impacted by the closure of 155 N Beacon Street. We will work to find solutions and support. We hope that the results will affect large communities and working musicians in our cities where lack of available space is already a significant problem. we know.”

The BPDA said similarly, saying it “will work diligently with IQHQ and the Mayor’s Department of Arts and Culture to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures are agreed to ensure that musicians have access to affordable rehearsal space in Allston Brighton.” We are making it available for the long term,” he said. The BPDA added that the city “has requested to support musicians through this transition” and is awaiting further information from IQHQ, after which more public hearings are expected.

City Councilman Liz Breadon, who represents Allston-Brighton, said she was working with the city to “provisionally identify a swing space.” She added that, in the big picture, she plans to move into Allston’s arts district and help preserve some of what makes the area famous.

“For decades, the music scene has been a very important part of Allston,” she said. Are you going to support this part of the economy, or are you not?”

Long called “Allston Rock City” in its music scene, Allston is known for its music scene as opposed to the other equally apt moniker “Rat City”, but Brendon As noted, intense development and rising rents in the area have led to the closure of many, including the legendary Great Scott Music Club.

“We have history here. We have an identity here in terms of art and culture, and that is our identity,” said Anthony DiCidro of the Allston Civic Association. “It really strips us a little bit of who we are.”

And if the city isn’t careful, even future talent buildings from IQHQ could be too late, he said.

“If something develops in the future, will there be any artists left who are interested?” he said.

Another tenant, Scott Matalon, said he bounced around at the Sound Museum decades ago because the prices on Alewife and other sites were too high.

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