A popular Lemoyne music venue is set to close.
The owner of The Champ on Market Street said his rent went up last month due to insurance and his business couldn’t sustain the increase.
Thousands of drivers unknowingly pass by the venue every day, It sits tucked down a long driveway off Market, behind two bridges.
Archie Clark has worked at The Champ for nearly a decade and prides himself on the personal relationships he’s built with fans, many of them young kids looking for a fun night out.
“Moshing and dancing and a lot of yelling and screaming and having a lot of fun,” Clark said. “For a lot of parents, it’s a release because it’s a place they can take their children and they know nothing’s going to happen to them.”
The Champ is secluded and off the beaten path, creating an underground scene of sorts for budding musicians.
But news of that rent hike hit owner Jeremy Weiss like a ton of bricks.
“My first thought is always the community of musicians and the young people that come to the venue,” Weiss, a promoter, said. “You know them by face and you know many of them by name and they’ve just been so loyal and so enthusiastic.”
Weiss says his no alcohol policy and acceptance of fans of all ages made The Champ unique, a place for those who might feel left out of other, more mainstream venues.
“I think the greatest part about this is it’s the United Nations of personalities and backgrounds, and all are welcome,” Weiss added.
“We’ve had a lot of bands here that have gone on to bigger and better things, but this is where they started,” said Clark.
They say it’s the fans they’ll miss the most, and with shows from now until Sept. 8, they’ll go out just as they began.
Clark said of their last few shows, “it’ll hurt to see it go – just keep on rockin’.”
Weiss hopes The Champ can live on somewhere else but says that will depend on the fans and their interest in keeping it alive.
They encourage anyone who wants to attend shows, invest, or just express support to visit their Facebook page.