In a few months, music fans will say goodbye to The Masquerade as the legendarily grungy music venue is booted to make way for a $60 million mixed-use development called North + Line.
The demise of the historic rock venue, which witnessed a parade of then-upstarts Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and the Dave Matthews Band perform since its opening in 1989, isn’t a surprise.
But one Atlanta musician is hoping time hasn’t completely expired.
Sarah Rose, a singer-guitarist for the pop-rock band Sarah and the Safeword, has started a Care 2 petition to save The Masquerade. As of Friday afternoon, it’s a few hundred signatures short of its goal of 6,000.
“I’ve been playing in bands since I was 18. Atlanta music has been part of my DNA since I was a kid,” said Rose, who works as Care2’s Social Media Associate & LGBTQ Issues Advocate. “When you’re growing up and you’re in a local punk rock band, you look at The Masquerade as the place you want to play. Just the idea of Atlanta without The Masquerade, which has come to define our music scene…it seems like a shame.”
Rose has performed at the venue many times throughout the years with various bands and said even if The Masquerade moves to a new location – which is the plan – it can’t replace the history of the original three floors of playing space long-known as Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
“There’s something about playing in that venue and standing on that stage that you feel, this is where Kurt Cobain once stood,” she said. “There seems to be an erasure of Atlanta’s musical history under the guise of gentrification.”
Rose is aware that despite her passion for salvaging the venue, it’s tough to battle the corporate behemoths. But she is determined to maintain her efforts, even if it’s just a moral victory. She said she has not heard from anyone at the venue about her petition to save it.
“I always feel like there is a chance. There have been rumors about (The Masquerade) shutting down for years,” she said. “But even if it doesn’t make a difference, it’s important to the music community in Atlanta.”