Why Sara Bareilles is working to “preserve and protect” the legendary NYC venue where she started

Shervin Lainez

In June, Sara Bareilles played two benefit shows at New York City’s Rockwood Music Hall to help the legendary venue remain open. On Tuesday, August 1, she’s playing two additional shows there, so staff members and musicians who are owed money can get paid. Sara says the intimate venue was very important to her own career when she was starting out.

The second show I ever played in New York City was at Rockwood, and I very immediately felt a kinship with the size and the space and the vibe,” she tells ABC Audio. “I wanted to play there again. I wanted to graduate from stage one to stage two. I wanted to earn better slots.”

What makes Rockwood special, Sara says, is that it still gives up-and-coming artists a chance to hone their craft.

“One of the things I respect so much about the legacy that that venue has built, is that didn’t have to have a name to earn a spot to work there,” she explains. “A lot of times [with] venues…if you can’t prove yourself or bring in a big enough audience, you don’t get access to the stage. And so that’s one of the things…I’m hoping that we can preserve and protect.

Sara admits that saving an independent music venue like Rockwood is “a tall order,” adding, “We’re trying to move a mountain here.” She notes, “We’re trying to…just let this place live and do what it’s supposed to do.”

If you can’t attend the shows, you can still donate to the venue’s GoFundMe site; plus, they’re being recorded for future release.

“There is a hopeful plan to record,” Sara reveals.  She laughs, “So, assuming I don’t sound terrible, that will be something that people can think can get eventually!”

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