A mission is underway to save a music venue that has served the Seattle area for nearly eight decades. In an open letter published in Friday’s Seattle Times, a group of over 150 national and local artists have asked residents take action in preventing the demolition of the beloved theater.
Leading the group are Washington natives, Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Duff McKagan of Guns n’ Roses, Macklemore, and Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. An advocacy coalition is working with the group of artists to create solutions to help protect the theater such as designating the venue as a historic landmark as well as urging supporters to contact Seattle’s City Council and Mayor.
In statements about the group’s effort, Gibbard commented, “We have created a coalition to save The Showbox not just because we have great memories of playing and seeing shows there, but because we want it to be available for future generations of performers and music fans to create their own.”
“This Showbox Market demolition cannot stand! This place has musically flavored what Seattle IS at its core, Progress is great and all, but not at the cost of the soul of the city,” said McKagan.
Macklemore added, “Seattle has a long lineage of music and the arts. As our city continues to grow in density, it’s imperative that we protect the spaces that give Seattle its cultural identity. If we value our musical heritage and want to leave the next generation with a piece of authentic Seattle, this is our fight.”
“The Showbox is integral to the social fabric of the Seattle music scene. I have been lucky to have played there in many forms, Pearl Jam, Flight to Mars, sitting in with the Screaming Trees, benefits for Seattle organizations and a host of other shows that are too numerous to recall. The Showbox is a classy, relevant venue as important as CBGBs, the First Avenue, Filmore East and West, The Troubadour and Whisky to name a few. I’m 100% into saving the Showbox for the future. Its existence is imperative to the soul and heart of our fantastic city! SAVE THE SHOWBOX!” McCready concluded.
Since opening its doors, The Showbox has hosted a diverse mix of musical and comedic talent.
The letter goes on to note, “For nearly 80 years, The Showbox has been home to some of Seattle’s biggest cultural moments, from Duke Ellington to Buffalo Springfield, The Police, The Ramones, James Brown, Heart, Ellen DeGeneres, Eminem, Soundgarden, Coldplay, Robin Williams, Chris Stapleton, Prince and beyond, Despite this venue’s iconic status, it is under threat. The Onni Group, a BC-based developer, plans to tear down The Showbox, to build a 44-story luxury residential tower in its place. We cannot let this happen. “
The Vancouver-based developer have demolished other historic buildings in the Seattle area to make way for new construction. According to The Seattle Times, Onni also plans to construct residential and commercial units at the site of the former Seattle Times building.
According to Consequence of Sound, Seattle’s Showbox Theater will remain standing, at least until next summer. Seattle’s City Counsel voted to keep the historic music and comedy venue safe from demolition through June of 2019. However, several groups are working to turn The Showbox into a historic landmark to ensure it remains permanently safe from demolition.