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Boston music crisis: Another large rehearsal space set to close, this time in Charlestown, councilor says

On the heels of the shutdown of the Sound Museum in Brighton, the owner of the Charlestown Rehearsal Studio on Terminal Street in Charlestown plans to kick out the musicians who now practice there by June so it can turn the building into a self-storage facility, City Councilor Gabriela Coletta (Charlestown, North End, East Boston) said today.

That could leave up to 1,100 musicians with no place to rehearse - and, when coupled with the Sound Museum closure, would leave Boston with no large rehearsal spaces at all - she said at a City Council meeting.

The council agreed to a request by Coletta and Councilors Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton) and Tania Fernandes Anderson (Roxbury) to look at ways to help city musicians. Without places to practice, "we are going to lose our artistic community," Breadon said. In their formal request, they wrote:

Boston is home to many incredible artists like New Edition, Aerosmith, Oompa, and many of the upcoming artists who attend the Berklee College of Music. Our city loses many of these artists to Los Angeles and New York because of the lack of resources and support provided by the City of Boston.

Coletta said that R.J. Kelly Co., which owns the current Charlestown Rehearsal Studio at 50 Terminal St., wants the building vacated by June 1. The building now has 95 separate facilities, which tend to be shared by between 5 and 14 musicians or groups.

IQHQ, a California developer that is tearing down the Sound Museum building for a life-sciences complex, says it has acquired another Allston building for Sound Museum musicians, but that building needs to be renovated for musician use first.

City Councilor Frank Baker noted work to bring some of the Allston musicians to Dorchester in a former broadcast building on Morrissey Boulevard.

PDF icon Coletta's call for study87.59 KB


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The relentless pursuit of profit is making it increasingly impossible for artists to live and work in this city and that’s a loss for all of us.

Voting closed 403

Why is a self-storage facility incompatible with practice space? How does the rent per square foot compare?

Before MIT closed the Metropolitan Rage Warehouse (Ire Proof), there was a guy who rented a storage room for his grand piano, and he would often come by to practice.

Voting closed 782

In theory there's little difference between self-storage and music rehearsal, but in practice and in the actual case of the rooms Stor-U-Self/RJ Kelly has been building out in this specific location, the self-storage units can't be used for most music activities. The self-storage units are not sound-proofed, and they're too small to set up a drum kit and several amps for a band with enough space left for people to play them. They also don't have enough power supply for multiple amplifiers. A single solo musician could probably rent a storage unit and practice piano in there by themselves without issue, but a band is much bigger and louder; 20 bands practicing all at the same time on the same floor, as they do in CRS now, would simply not be feasible. The only activities that would really work (practicing keyboard or electronic drums w/ headphones, music production and mixing w/ headphones, etc.) can be done in people's own apartments and don't require dedicated facilities.

The storage units are much smaller than the existing rooms, and rent for 2-3x more per square foot. It's likely that building insurance is also cheaper for self-storage vs. music rehearsal. Still, if the only difference were cost, it would be annoying but the musicians would figure out a way to pay for it. Unfortunately the problem is much bigger than that.

Voting closed 543

Because the wealth from the Los Angeles donors giving the resources to support local up and coming musicians are already a huge success in the music industry. Same with New York. Ernie Boch, Jr. - help us!!

Voting closed 628

that our culture can support music, from the ground up, any more. everything that is "made" now is made by a microchip, our job, is not to understand it but to blindly consume it, whatever it is. all money gets funneled up, and while we in the former working class accuse each other of sundry tribal problems, while serious, seem to somehow aid in helping us be blind to a larger problem: we are growing a class of technocrats that already seek to wield too much control over us, and appear to be just barely tolerating democracy.

perhaps a lot of you can't yet see just how likely is dystopia, at some point, granted perhaps not this quarter. oh well.

Voting closed 742

It's already here, mainstream art has been almost completely subsumed by machine learning.

Voting closed 477

Join the art army. #ArtStaysHere

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Voting closed 494

Wait, we're "losing" musicians to LA and NYC because of something like this? Those places are insanely expensive too but are gigantic. And they happen to be where the entertainment biz is centered. Ridiculous comment regardless of how much of a bummer this is.

Voting closed 627

This one has got to hurt.

Tearing it down to be come a SELF STORAGE place?

Boy that landlord must think he's in for a gravy train if he wants to do this.

what the fuck are we doing planning board? Self Storage places? IN THE CITY? That sh*t is for the burbs and you know it.

Voting closed 330

Or check - the owner accepts both, buy the property and do as you please with it.

As for self storage it makes perfect sense - not much space to store stuff when 800sqft is a mansion.

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Huge population that have no other place to store their belongings.

Voting closed 466

It's already 2/3 storage space with 3 floors of rehearsal space.
And with the going rates for those units it would end up making them more money.

Voting closed 471

Check it out. It's far superior to even CRS, which was the best of the bunch.

Voting closed 470

SUM is great, but it's already full (as is Studio 52). There simply is not enough space there for the musicians being displaced. Losing CRS specifically is a bummer, but the issue we're trying to get people to understand is that, without CRS and the Sound Museum, Studio 52 is the only rehearsal complex left in the entire city. SUM and 52 are not getting larger and they simply cannot fit any more tenants. Musicians tend to be a bit transient and are used to moving around, but at this point there's nowhere left to go. We're reaching the end of the line.

Also, my understanding is that SUM rents hourly and offers gear storage separately. Sound Museum and CRS offer monthly leases for dedicated, secure space, which is slightly different.

Voting closed 573

SUM offers practice spaces of different sizes for monthly rent, as well as by the hour. Studio 52 used to offer this before they moved into a former storage facility.

I also find it hilarious that two of the Boston music references are bands that formed 30-40+ years ago. There is so much music happening in this city, but Boston does not value current artists. They would rather rest on their laurels and gripe about how Aerosmith was the best band to come out of here.

Voting closed 306

Rehearsal space tenants in the Charlestown building are partnering with the ArtStaysHere Coalition to form a Tenants Association in an effort to stay in our building. For more info you can sign up at the link here: bit.ly/musicstaysincharlestown

Voting closed 663