About Club 77
When I (Jhoni Jackson) moved here from Atlanta, I saw firsthand how amazing the independent culture in Puerto Rico is. People are supportive of an immensely diverse array of sounds here. I love so many of the local bands. Artists are creating amazing works and hosting superb exhibits. Independent and alternative culture is absolutely thriving in Puerto Rico. It really blew me away.
I quickly noticed, however, that a couple things are missing. My first realization: Not enough touring bands.
It makes sense -- flights aren't cheap. Independent bands in particular don't make much money to begin with so, for most, the reality that they'll likely spend much more here than they'll make is simply too much to overcome. But locals want to see these bands. Anyone who caught Shannon & the Clams last fall, saw Acid Baby Jesus over the summer or watched the Spits at the Mala Vida Buena Musica fest a couple years ago knows that's true. There's a crowd waiting for this kind of stuff.
Additionally, when you consider all the people in PR who are into all things alternative, there aren't enough venues. Don't get me wrong, there's a handful of great places to hang here. Each is crucial to the independent community. But there's plenty room for more!
That's where Club 77 comes in -- and Jose Rodriguez (Las Ardillas) and Kristen Fink (Electroshock, former owner of the Cafe 103). Together we've rented a space on Ponce de Leon in Rio Piedras that will fit around 250 people. It's super spacious and has a patio in the back. We'll be serving food, too.
Our primary goal with the venue, though, is to book touring bands. We're going to make it easier for them to get here by offering a crucial option: Fronting the flight cost. We'll make our money back at the door and bar, and give them a little extra whenever possible to supplement the money they'll make selling merch. They'll have someplace to stay for free too and, if they're into it, we'll help set them up with other shows on the island.
Essentially, we will make playing in San Juan way more financially friendly. In the process, we'll be opening the doors for a bunch of great music to come to the island -- bands you've been dying to see live, bands you've only seen once that time you were in NYC and they happened to play, new bands to fall in love with and, of course, another stellar venue for local acts to play.
While music will be Club 77's main purpose, we're hoping it can also be a hub for all forms of art. There's floor-to-ceiling columns that would make cool divisions for an exhibit. The stage could be used for any type of performance -- theater, comedy/improv, drag shows, literary events, you name it!
Why are we asking for help?
We have all personally poured chunks of our savings into this: The security deposit, money for permits, building costs, etc. We aren't even halfway finished yet, and our funds are dwindling. Here’s some of what we’ll use your donations for:
1. Sound: Jose is working with amazing, seasoned local sound engineers on a setup that’ll knock your socks off. Not only does this include the equipment, but also the wall-to-wall cushioning necessary for a truly pristine result.
2. Stocking the bar: We’re gonna have full range of alcohol, including some craft brews. (And, if all goes as planned, Medalla on DRAFT!)
3. Flight fund: Money allocated for travel expenses for bands.
4. Lights: For the entire bar as well as specifically for the stage.
5. Decor: It’s gotta be sharp, but not stuffy. We’re aiming for a rock ‘n’ roll-minded middle-ground.
6. Permits and licenses: How many hoops do you have to jump through to start a business? One million. And each of them is costly.
7. Further building beyond stage/bar: We’ll eventually have booths and other sitting areas for pre and post-show hanging.
That’s just the costs we can think of now—I have no doubt we’ll have additional costs as we move forward. We really do need your support to make Club 77 happen! In return, we're offering some rad rewards. Take notice that each reward will make you feel like part of the bar, like you aren’t just a guest but an important part of what we’re trying to do. We want this to be a go-to hangout for everyone. We want you to see awesome shows. And we want more bands to start regularly considering Puerto Rico as part of their tours!
Food/drink tickets, DJ spots, mix CDs, Club 77 posters/stickers, a limited edition vinyl EP featuring singles from four different local bands, your own signature drink, free entry to shows, silk-screened Club 77 T-shirts, an opening gig for your band at the show of your choosing, your own night to book whatever the heck you want, VIP passes and a kick-ass, custom open-bar party are some of the options!
Other Ways You Can Help
Broke? We understand. We're pretty much there ourselves at this point. But are you an artist? Maybe you can donate some works to decorate the space. Do you make neon signs? Does your uncle know someone who has a friend who makes neon signs? We really, really want neon signs. You wanna work the door a couple nights (once we're open) for free? That helps too. Do you have some cool lights you're not using that could adorn our super-high ceiling? We'll take 'em! Got a green thumb? Help us make the patio pretty with potted plants! Do you have sound equipment -- i.e. amps, mics, etc. -- you can donate? If it's in working condition, we can probably use it! Take note: We'll compensate you for any contribution. We'll figure out some way of saying thank you.
And, if all else fails, you can simply spread the word about this campaign -- and come to the shows once things get rolling!