The New York East Village club CBGB has always been regarded as a legend, after all, you don’t see many clubs selling so many t-shirts with their logo to a generation who has never set a foot inside. In the 70s, CBGB became the scene for punk rock and new wave, as the Ramones, the Misfits, Patti Smith, The Cramps, Nico, Talking Heads, Television and many others have performed numerous times there, as well as many hardcore bands (Youth of Today, Sick of it All, Gorilla Biscuits, Warzone, Cro-MAgs, Agnostic Front,…) later on.
When the club closed down it in 2006, because of a rent dispute between the Bowery Residents’ Committee and the owner Hilly Kristal, it seemed it was the end of an era. The owner died in 2007, CBGB was dismantled, and designer John Varvatos opened a store at the club’s former location to sell his $2,000 jackets.
However, according to MSNBC, the famous club may be back as ‘New club investors are currently pursuing a permanent downtown Manhattan venue for the club will not be trying to emulate the past’, as explained the spokeman: ‘They are hoping to open a new venue focused on new music. They are not trying to recreate the past but hope to open a space in the spirit of CBGB.’
A new group of six investors have bought the rights to the club’s assets, and Kristal's daughter, Lisa Kristal Burgman, also co-executor of the estate, seems happy to know that the club will not die after all.
But at the top of this, the investors are going to organize the first CBGB music festival, which will take place from July 5-8 and showcase 300 indie bands at many venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as film screenings, panel discussions, workshops,… according to the Hollywood Reporter it will be modeled after SXSW.
Indie bands? SXSW? But do New Yorkers want an Austin-meets-Portlandia festival in the middle of their city? I don’t know how much it cost to enter CBGB in the good old times, but with prices to attend the festival ranging from $69 to $499 (!!) doesn’t it seem like an exploitation of the club name?