By Erin Christie
The Boston music community reminisces on the times they had at the venue Great Scott following its closure earlier this year.
In 2016, Consequence of Sound ranked the 100 greatest music venues in America, and Allston’s grittiest rock club, Great Scott, managed to break the top 10 (settling at no. 8), and for good reason.
Following its debut in 1979, the 240-capacity dive-bar-slash-venue served the Greater Boston community with intimate, sweaty, and beer-soaked escapades night after night. It quickly became a pillar of the city’s venue hierarchy, becoming a place where growing musicians could find their start, touring bands could find their audience, and music lovers could unite.
Despite its vital role in Boston's music scene, however, Great Scott’s reign tragically ended this May, due to leasing disputes and COVID-related difficulties. Losing such a legendary spot hit the local music community like a blow to the chest, leading attendees and artists alike to reminisce on the times they had had there throughout the years (shown in the video above).
With the great amount of love for Great Scott considered, the venue’s former longtime talent buyer Carl Lavin took it upon himself to begin crowdfunding to save it early this summer. His efforts began with a Mainvest campaign, which asked donors to become investors of a minimum of $100; currently, the campaign is on its second round of funding, having made over $250,000 by August. Additionally, Richard Bouchard — a close friend of Lavin, and an independent booking/promotions manager and member of the Zumix nonprofit Executive Board — started his own GoFundMe, to create an opportunity for individuals who couldn’t invest large amounts to still participate in the efforts to revive the venue.
Thankfully, these various efforts, in addition to continued public outcry, have recently borne fruit. As Lavin confirmed, Great Scott’s team is currently in negotiations with the landlord of the recently-abandoned Regina Pizza in Lower Allston, with hopes that they might be able to take over. The timing was nearly perfect, as Regina’s ended their lease in July.
The building, a 7,000 square-foot space, would surely be an upgrade for Great Scott, and Lavin has a plan for that, too: to utilize part of the venue as a rock club, and the other as a restaurant. Updates regarding the status of the relocation are currently under wraps, but hopes are high among former patrons, musicians, and the Boston music community at large. Still, regardless of whether or not the relocation will work out, it’s clear that Great Scott’s legacy will continue far past its stay at 1222 Commonwealth Ave.