On Friday night during Freak Out Fest, what appears to be an electrical fire broke out in one of the apartments above the Brooklyn DIY event space and haven Silent Barn. The Bushwick venue hosts concerts and other arts-related endeavors on a regular basis, as well as housing the residents who live in apartments above. Everyone who was in the building on Friday night escaped unscathed, but the damage to the structure is substantial.
The primary concern is that during the period while the damages to the building are repaired, no shows can be held in the main room. Furthermore, all of the artists-in-residence of the building have been displaced, and several lost all of their personal belongings to the blaze. The staff and community affiliated with the venue are seeking to raise money to help reimburse the residents and offset the substantial profit/funds/paychecks that will be lost as a result of the venue’s temporary closure. Basically, if you’ve ever gone to Silent Barn and felt impacted — not just by the space of the venue, but by the entrepreneurial spirit that keeps this inclusive all-ages venture afloat — please consider donating to ensure they pull through this crisis. All shows have been canceled during the renovations, but the cafe and yard will remain open.
Here’s the official statement from the venue on how you can help via their Facebook Page:
[Friday] night, September 25th, Silent Barn experienced a fire on the third floor, in the apartments. There were people in the apartments and a show taking place downstairs in our mainspace, but everyone made it out of the building safely. We believe an electrical malfunction caused the fire, and hope to confirm the cause soon. The fire destroyed the room where it began and caused smoke and water damage to the surrounding apartments and to our performance space. Some of our residents lost all of their personal belongings. We will be unable to host events in our main performance space until further notice. Our stewdios and yard remain open as normal and we hope to host some events in those spaces in the meanwhile. As a collective, we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we have received so far!
The Silent Barn is insured and rebuilding costs will eventually be reimbursed. However, our residents’ personal losses are not covered. We are making every effort to support our residents during this difficult time, and we’re happy to say that the donations we’ve already received through our website can likely cover personal losses. Sadly, every upstairs resident will be displaced until the damage can be assessed and the building restored. The most pressing financial concern is the loss of income from empty apartments and no shows downstairs. This will probably cost us tens of thousands of dollars and could potentially also cost us the space we’ve worked so hard to create.
While we cannot host large groups of people in our mainspace during the building renovations, we’re hoping to maintain (and even extend) our daytime cafe hours and community programming. Stopping in to buy a coffee, hanging out in the yard, or even just working on your computer here are great ways to support us in this stressful time. We want to hang out with our friends and celebrate what makes this space so important in the first place. Here’s what we know so far:
We are currently working to move our existing shows over the next three weeks to neighboring venues. It may even be possible to host some of those smaller shows in other areas of the space. We’ll have a more accurate timeline within the next week, as damages are assessed. To our bookers, bands, and attendees: we’ll have constant updates for you via email, our newsletter, and our website. We’ll do our best to not cancel shows completely.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Now more than ever, we need donations. We’re working to assess our losses and provide an updated version of what we need to replace (especially regarding our residents’ material possessions).
** Ways to donate and more updates can be found here: www.silentbarn.org/donate
Insurance claims move slowly, but we don’t have to. Donations will primarily go towards replacing residents’ personal belongings, Silent Barn’s damaged property and loss of income. We also hope to retain as much staff as possible; we provide about $7,500 to our shows staff every month, and we are concerned about supporting our friends who depend on their jobs here.
We’d like to take a moment to thank the New York City Fire Department for moving so swiftly to save lives and our space. Also, to every person who stopped by in person last night and today, brought supplies, food, and lent us their attention and kind words: thank you. You’ve made it possible for us to push through this tragedy swiftly and gracefully. The health of our project depends on your support, so please keep us in your thoughts. Silent Barn is People!
The Silent Barn
Several bands impacted by the venue’s closure have made their albums available for donation on Bandcamp, including OG Band To Watch Sharpless, Big Ups, and LVL UP, and Girlpool put a “Chinatown” demo up for sale. All of the proceeds will go toward the Silent Barn recovery fund, and talks of benefit shows are already underway, so keep your eyes peeled for lineup announcements.
Click here to donate.