The Future of The Haunt 1
ITHACA, N.Y.(WENY)-- Over the past fifty years, The Haunt has been one of the premier music venues in Ithaca New York. Recently The Haunt, located at 702 Willow Avenue was sold and demolished to make way for a City harbor residential project that is expected to ramp up in coming weeks.
Dan Smalls, owner of DSP Shows said he was planning to buy both the venue and the brand that is, The Haunt before the pandemic hit.
“Because of the pandemic we did not go through with purchasing the business itself but we did buy the name and the history and the memorabilia,” said Smalls.
Smalls has been active in the music industry here in Ithaca since his college days back in the 80’s and he said The Haunt has played a very important role in his life.
“ My musical education was better than it ever could have been working anywhere in the world working for him and the African acts and the reggae acts and being friendly with Albert Collins and Buddy Guy, it was pretty amazing,” said Smalls.
Smalls is currently in the process of finding a new location for the famed music venue and plans to announce its new location in the near future.
“Creating a Haunt that is bigger scaleable, three hundred caps, all the way up to seven hundred or eight hundred is our goal,” said Smalls. “Maybe some indoor-outdoor space, so we are working on a lot of really cool ideas at a couple of different locations and I think we will have some news relatively soon.
“We are working very hard on an outdoor, socially distanced at Beak and Skiff where we should be able to do in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 shows,” said Smalls.
Like most music venues, performers, and music industry workers, Smalls has been out of work since the pandemic hit last Spring and he said he is looking forward to seeing the excitement on audience members' faces when the band comes onto the stage for their first set of the night.
“ Whether I love the band, whether I made money or lost, there is always that moment and missing that electricity has been the hardest part of the last year,” said Smalls.
Even when venues open back up, they will not be able to operate at full capacity which will result in ticket prices being increased and Smalls said the music industry relies very heavily on the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. This Grant provides emergency assistance for eligible venues affected by the pandemic. The grant provides venues with amounts equal to 45% of their 2019 gross earned revenue or $10 million, whichever is less. To find out how to apply follow the above link.