Sessions Music Hall falls to pandemic stressors, closing doors in October

·2 min read
Musician Keenan Dorn plays to an empty room at Sessions Music Hall in November 2020.
Musician Keenan Dorn plays to an empty room at Sessions Music Hall in November 2020.

Sessions Music Hall in downtown Eugene will be closing after a rough couple of years trying to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sessions sent out news about the closure Wednesday. Owner Danny Kime stated that the hall's final concert will be on Oct. 25 and will be closed by the end of that month.

"This is actually quite painful, but we will make the best of the time we have left," Kime stated in the announcement.

From 2019:Hi-Fi Music Hall rebrands as Sessions Music Hall

The concert hall, 44 E. Seventh Ave., first opened in May 2015 as Hi-Fi Music Hall with Kime as one of the original co-owners.

After a legal conflict between Kime and the original co-owner, the venue was renamed Sessions Music Hall in March 2019, with plans of renovations and expansion. The 10,000 square-foot building on the corner Willamette and Seventh has two music venues, two bars, an outdoor patio and a restaurant.

Sessions was "well equipped for success" in 2020, Kime said in the announcement − then the pandemic hit.

From 2021:'We can't go backward': Shows will go on at Eugene venues — with COVID-19 protocols in place

Sessions applied for COVID-19 relief grants, but the legal battle caused a temporary closure in 2019 and a 42 percent dip in revenue from the previous year. This caused the grant funding to be lower than what would have been ideal for the venue.

The grants helped keep the business afloat for the next two years, but the subsequent COVID-19 variants prevented events at Sessions from coming back into full swing.

"Our burn rate is simply too high, and those funds went quickly," Kime stated.

"It's a 10,000 square-foot building in the heart of downtown, and we have a lot of expenses. It was a thin-margin business prior to the pandemic, but we were making it work. Flash forward to today, and the business model simply doesn't make sense. There's many contributing factors that makes our business exceptionally difficult and I don't envision this changing for at least a few more years."

In the venue's final months, it will has 12 concerts on its schedule, including performances from Sir Mix-A-Lot, Circles Around the Sun, Spafford and the final concert on Oct. 25 featuring Shovels and Rope.

This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Downtown Eugene venue Sessions Music Hall closing in October