You know that old saying, “a lot can happen in a year.” This year is a prime example of that.
We started 2020 filled with promise. For the music industry, for our favorite bands, and locally, our economic outlook was looking solid. But the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic landed us in a wilderness of funhouse mirrors. From the onset of the global pandemic and over the past few months, it’s brought our lives to a virtual standstill. Facing unprecedented economic uncertainty, the music industry and dining establishments – who often played off each other – nearly came to an end.
Sadly, some of our favorite eating places and bars didn’t make it. All the larger than life concerts we were primed to see… evaporated. It sounds like a movie, but it is our real life in SoCal and throughout the country. With the stop of live music, promoters were unable to put together the kind of entertainment we were used to, especially in those early days. It’s been a tough road for everyone.
In Orange County, the restaurant, bar, and music industry are intertwined and are a big part of our identity. With the lockdown in place, restaurants and bars were closed for a bit, then engaged in limited business. They are slowly getting back into the swing of things, but it’s just not the same… just yet!
For OC, there’s one ownership group that’s been instrumental in all of the above. They’ve been a legit player in the re-vitalization of the live music scene in Huntington Beach and throughout SoCal. The ownership group of Gallagher’s and Sellout Events are a successful restaurant / bar and an accomplished concert promotion company.
Recently, we spoke with one of principals at Gallagher’s and Sellout, Scott Tucker. We talked about how they’ve been impacted by the pandemic, and what plans they have lined up. He started off with saying “Despite stages being empty the past few months, a few promoters, including himself, plan to change that.”
Tucker told us “Winter in normally when we book larger acts like Mickey Avalon, Missing Persons, Pato Banton and offset the weather which in Coastal Communities can kill business and without an added income we may not survive.”
Tucker continued, “We’re hoping to get back on the music scene soon, but with a lot of the back and forth of shutdowns NIVA (National Independent Venue Association) has been attempting to get the Federal or State Legislatures to add funding to the venues such as Alex’s, Troubadour, etc. but nothing has surfaced so far.”
As for Gallagher’s, he said, “Like any business, as owners, we had to buckle down and work alongside our staff … acting as bar backs to cooks to waitresses… we’re all trying to make ends meet. In the end, no matter how hard we try, it’s possible some of us in this industry may not survive this, that’s a sad and stark reality.”
Tucker went on to say, “We have had to get creative. We partnered with legendary pizza brand Mazzotti’s, who started in Huntington Beach in 1978 and was the place to be and be seen in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. This partnership is something we are extremely happy with and the food is amazing. We are also the producers through Sellout Events of the So Cal Hoedown, which was rescheduled to June 26 of 2021.”
Places like Gallagher’s are the backbone of the OC music scene. They plan to bring back a stage where local bands and traveling bands can entertain us. This is more than a restaurant or bar, it’s a place many locals call home and bands love to play. For the locals, it’s a place where you can see bands like Bite Me Bambi before they blow up, and on any given day, a legend will take the stage.
For Tucker, he gets no greater joy than putting on epic music festivals. He’s been part of some of the most memorable shows to hit OC the past decade. Over the years, his SoCal Hoedown has had the Who’s -Who of music heavyweights perform.
Last year’s epic lineup included bands like The Dickies, The Living End, Dead Kennedys and Suicidal Tendencies. This year Tucker plans on putting on another stellar show.
The pandemic is no joke, and while it’s knocked some places out, Tucker and his partners have that knack of being able to get back up off the mat. 2021 is already shaping up to be a rebound for many of us, and this is one more step towards that light.
In the interim, Gallagher’s needs our help to get up and running to full capacity. They’ve established a GoFundMe account to get the ball rolling.
Tucker says “Hopefully we can pay down some of our huge debt we’ve accrued for bills like rent, insurance, utilities that didn’t stop just because we were closed. We have expended all savings and are in a huge deficit.” This too is a situation that’s been playing out just about everywhere USA. So, Gallagher’s and all businesses from coast-to-coast are not on an island as it relates to this challenge.
For all communities, our future looks brighter because of business owners and promoters. Now it’s time for us to help the hands that help the bands.