The stage is empty and the hall is quiet these days at Mill Valley’s legendary Sweetwater Music Hall, silenced by stay at home orders enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The folks at Sweetwater are determined to keep the music alive, however.
The Sweetwater board of directors announced on the venue’s website last week the creation of a new California 501c3 nonprofit public benefit organization. The nonprofit arm will operate Sweetwater’s music and education programming.
“The mission of our new non-profit is to ensure the infinite legacy of Sweetwater, not only by continuing to support the music that reflects the cultural diversity of Marin County and the greater San Francisco Bay Area, but also by showcasing all forms of arts and education to future generations,” Sweetwater officials wrote. “Your fully tax-deductible donation isa thank you note for the past and a promise to the future.”
“Since the original Sweetwater first opened its doors in 1972, and throughout the journey to our current state-of-the-art location, our iconic Sweetwater stage has hosted legends,” they continued. “And like you, we’ve missed these artists and all the others who have graced our venue. But our who’s-who of rock & roll history is only part of our story. Because Sweetwater is community. It’s education. A center of belonging. Everyone is always welcome. Arms, hearts, and minds wide open.”
Other arts venues in Marin County, such as the Marin Theatre Company, Throckmorton Theater, the Lark Theater, The Rafael, Hopmonk Tavern’s outdoor stage in Novato, 19 Broadway in Fairfax, and others are either closing their doors or pivoting to an online presence. Meanwhile, some groups are searching for financial relief from the federal Save Our Stages Act, a bipartisan relief package for venues and independent music presenters.