Coronavirus Lockdown Kills Influential Downtown Springfield Music Venue

They’ve endured the pressures of running a nightclub, the ebb and flow of the downtown area, and of course rock star drama. At the end of the day, a global pandemic was needed to bring down one of Springfield’s most influential music venues.

The owners of The Outland complex in downtown Springfield announced Tuesday they were forced to sell the business because of the COVID-19 lockdown by the city that closed all entertainment venues.

“With the uncertainty of when touring bands will come back or when we can fully operate, we had to weigh all of our options [condensing down to less rooms, relocating, changing concepts],” the former owners wrote on a social media posting. “At the end of the day it had to be a financial decision as we were always very DIY and did it for the love of music. A global pandemic is something that can’t be planned for and we had to ultimately make the decision to sell the business.”

Musicians and music fans who saw the Outland complex as a key venue for local music in the Springfield region had tried during the lockdown to help pay the facility’s ongoing expenses, including selling custom T-shirts and other items.

“The Outland Complex is where I cut my teeth as a musician, made friendships to last a lifetime, and losing it feels like losing an old friend,” Kim Painter, bassist for the group SALT, told OI.

The Outland closing is the latest in a series of local music venues shutting down as a result of the city’s lockdown, including the Moon City Pub and Falstaff’s.

“I’m worried about the future of live music in Springfield,” local musician Kevin Tisdel told OI. “I liked playing with my back to that big window because I could always turn around and see how busy downtown was.”

The posting said that the new owners will be announcing changes to the facility and that work on those changes will begin in a few weeks.

“We love you from the bottom of our hearts and can’t begin to thank you all for the support over the years,” the posting reads. “Outland was something truly special and we know that those memories will be with us forever. We will miss you and hope to see you all again down the road.”

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