Cambridge Micro Music Venue Expected to Shutdown

Staff Writer: Rena Danho

Email: rdanho@umassd.edu

If you are well versed in the music scene in Boston you may have heard of a small venue in Cambridge, Massachusetts called Middle East.

The Middle East is a modest-sized club known to host shows for small artists like Peach Tree Rascals and Kid Bloom. But, what you may not have known about the location is that it could be shutting down soon.

(https://www.bostonherald.com/2018/08/30/middle-east-co-owner-retires-after-performers-shun-club/)

News has been spreading that the Middle East may be shutting down to have a hotel built in its place. It is conveniently located near Harvard University, which is a major hub for the city.

But the question everyone is asking is “what will happen to the Middle East?” As a big concert go-er, this is something that worries me.

Music is a big part of the culture of Boston, and also a great segue for meeting new people and branching out social circles. So if the Middle East turned into a hotel, one of those cultural hubs will disappear.

By closing this micro venue, niche artists will have fewer options for show locations, potentially forcing them to cut Boston out of their tours.

While the idea of putting a hotel in its place seems bad, after talking to people who work at other Boston venues, I have learned that there are plans to fit a concert venue into the hotel.

Although this solves the issue of bands not being able to perform, the hotel will take a while to build. Aside from building the thing, they will still need to staff the building, run checks and furnish it.

Boston is one of the most famous cities in the US, and many bands come to to the city on their tours because it is in the perfect spot for people from out of state to drive into. It is necessary for Boston to have as many venues as it does, as so many different people come to the city to see their favorite bands.

However, Cambridge does have another popular venue that could inherit some of its orphaned bands, The Sinclair.

The capacity of The Sinclair is 525 people while The Middle East is 194. This is a significant difference in capacity and is make or break for some artists who wouldn’t be able to play a show at The Sinclair due to the size of their fanbase.

Having a venue in the hotel in place of The Middle East is not a horrible idea and it would then allow many people to be able to stay overnight after their shows by just going upstairs.

But is the time it takes to build the hotel worth it? I guess only time will tell.

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