Two years ago, Skull Alley opened their doors at 1017 East Broadway. Now as of January 1st, the venue plans to close them for good after months of struggle to stay afloat.
Hosting a diverse range of happenings, from concerts, to art showings, poetry events, and workshops, Skull Alley became a staple in Louisville's independent arts scene. As support for the project, the venue also housed a screen printing shop in full service out of their basement. This past May, however, the business was forced to cease screen printing due to a fire code violation. "Essentially, when we rented the space we did so under the assurance that we would be able to screen print in the basements of the space," says owner Jamie Prott in a press release. "We based our entire business around the screen printing shop financially subsidizing the venue because we knew going in how little money there is to be made off all ages shows, and how fickle turnouts can be in Louisville." Skull Alley's screen printing business provided 40% of the venue's income. With the space made into storage, it was hard to avoid the impending closure that now faces them today.
Fickle turnouts became even fickler over the summer and come October, the venue lost their beer license from owing back taxes. After months of strain to meet these debts, as well as paying rent, Prott made the final decision to close.
It's sad to think where Louisville's music and arts will go from here. For many, Skull Alley served as a regular performance plate for bands that wouldn't normally make the ticket at other venues around town. It was a place to unexpectedly find a memorable night, or even a new favorite band. But Skull Alley isn't alone in the economic struggle, as even more affluent businesses like Ear-X-Tacy continue to battle against going under. The closing of Skull Alley should be a wake up call to everyone about the reality of these struggles. What we can only do now is to continue to support our local businesses, and prevent Louisville from losing anymore beloved places like this.
Skull Alley will be hosting their last show on December 31st, featuring a performance by Lemuria who coincidentally headlined the venue's first show two years ago. Below is their final December schedule.
-December 8th - Farewell Flight, the Foxery, Young Lions. 7:30pm $5
-December 11th - Second Story Man, Supertruck, Bu Hao Ting 8pm $5
-December 14th - The Reptilian, Evil Grimace, Yo Magesty and the Erascists, Admiral Ackbar 7pm $5
-December 17th - Louisville Hardcore Showcase: 5pm $5
-December 18th - Mountain Asleep (last show), Coliseum, Good Luck, Native, Xerxes, Antilles, Automatic 6pm $8
-December 20th - Trophy Wife, Resister, Vaderbomb 7:30pm $5
-December 21st - Late Ones, Trap Them, Red Light Revival, Mustangs, Skinwalkers, Walkthrough. 7pm $5
-December 31st - Lemuria, Reading Group, Black God, Young Lions, The Foxery. 7pm $7
Photo: Metromix/ Rachel Seed