GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Independent venues are among the industries hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic. COVID-19 has cancelled concert after concert, ultimately shutting the doors to all performances for months.
Locally, Mesa Theater has been facing these financial hardships. Rick Christensen, Mesa Theater manager, says, “we’ve just been spending more than we’ve ever been making.”
Previously the venue received a grant from the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, as well as money from the Paycheck Protection Program. However, the federal funding fell short as Mesa Theater had to pay employees, the mortgage, and other expenses. Still, the manager is optimistic there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The second stimulate package approved in December includes the Save Our Stages Act, which is $15 billion in grants for live performance venues.
In the meantime, Mesa Theater’s neighbor, Triple Play Records, is lending a helping hand. The record store donated racks of vinyls to the theater, and all profits go towards “saving the stage.” Matthew Cesarrio, Triple Play Records manager, says, “we had a really good year. The community came out and helped us in 2020, while the Mesa Theater didn’t have that option. We see it as a huge thing to give back to them because with out the Mesa Theater we can’t see live music.”
In addition, many believe the Mesa Theater is more than just a music venue; it is a historic and beloved piece of our community. Christensen says, “I think it means a lot to a lot of people, and there has been a lot of community support.”
The community can continue to support the Mesa Theater through other fundraising efforts. The venue is selling t-shirts, as well as has a GoFundMe. The theater’s bar is also open Wednesday through Saturday from 5 PM to 11 PM, and on Mondays, there is a disc golf putting league.