Madison’s concert hall reopens after 16-month wait

MADISON, Wisconsin – One of Madison’s favorite concert halls is reopening, after about a year and a half on hiatus.

It’s weird to be inside the Sylvee when it’s dark and silent. Of course, the staff are used to this, especially after a year and a half.

The place first opened in the fall of 2018, and it closed at the start of the pandemic. The Sylvee has been closed for almost the same time it was never opened.

It was tough for the team, including FPC Live Marketing Director Lauren Toler.

“I hate pandemics,” she said, soundlessly in her voice. She looked exhausted working from home in her basement. “I hated it.”

PFC Live co-chair Matt Gerding felt it too.

“That moment that happens at night, every time the live music happens, we haven’t had that,” he said. “We’ve been a bit lacking in determination over the past year and a half. ”

It took courage to stay afloat.

“Lots of money savings, cutbacks and tough decision making here and there,” Gerding said. “It has been difficult to keep staff morale high. ”

Things do change at Sylvee, however. The staff worked to change the decor hanging from the floor. It was fascinating to see the disco ball close to the floor, as if it was bad luck to have it so far from the ceiling. But it’s a daily thing for people who work behind the scenes.

The doors of the Sylvee will open again on Friday July 16. They host the first show on the main stage in over a year. They call the event “The Revival”. Tickets are $ 10 in advance and $ 15 at the door.

“Rod Tuffcurls, they’ve been kind of a Madison fan favorite,” Toler said. “It’ll just be a really fun way to get back to it.”

After the grand reopening of sorts, the season is already filling up. There are at least 30 shows until the end of the year, and more may show up.

“It went from zero to 100 very quickly,” Toler said. “We went from having no shows on our calendar to trying to book as much as possible. ”

It’s not just the performance itself, however. It’s about Madison to experience them together.

“I think a lot of people are starting to understand how important live music and socializing is to their mental health and their ability to function and just be humans,” Toler said.

As the staff got ready for the big night, they seemed almost giddy to be at work.

“There is an energy and an excitement that comes with this moment, every time the stage lights go out and the band comes on stage,” Gerding said. “When we see that moment arrive, I think it will all be worth it.”

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