Pandemic financial strains cause Songbirds to close

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — One of Chattanooga’s top tourist attractions and music venues will be closing its doors for good next weekend.

“It literally brought to tears yesterday,” Songbirds assistant curator Irving Berner said.

“It’s almost surreal that it’s happening,” Seth Little said.

After three successful years, Songbirds will be singing farewell to Chattanooga next weekend. The museum and venue’s finances have taken a major hit in the last five months. Pandemic shutdowns and restrictions caused significant decreases in tourist traffic and live events.

“The attendance of shows, and the attendance at the museum really wasn’t viable for us,” Songbirds brand director Bryan Shannon said. “Our lease was coming up at the end of October, so the tough decision had to be made to close down.”

Not only will the public lose access to a multi-million dollar vintage guitar collection — but the closure also creates a major void in Chattanooga’s local music scene.

“Local, up and coming artists really depend on these smaller, midsize, independent venues. And to not have the stages to play on, is going to be big,” Shannon said.

“This brought a lot to the town, not only as a tourist attraction, but the concerts, the live music, which was something I thought this town needed,” Berner said. “It was wonderful what Songbirds brought to the town. It’s a sad day.”

Since Wednesday morning’s announcement, Shannon says the community has shown overwhelming support for the attraction.

“The outpouring of people reaching out on Facebook, Instagram, people have actually come up the door, we had a guy come up with tears in his eyes this morning. He was just moved, and obviously we’ve kind of had our moments, but to see how much love that people have for this place, it is pretty cool. Makes me proud to be a Chattanoogan,” Shannon said.

Songbirds will be open until Saturday, August 15th, with four more live shows before the doors are finally closed.

Categories: Business, Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News

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