Tuesday's news that long-standing garage rock haven Beerland Texas has been sold to an undisclosed buyer sent shock waves through the Austin music scene. The club, which hosts primarily smaller local and touring acts, has been a vital part of the Red River Cultural District's ecosystem, providing a launch pad to emerging artists since it was founded in 2001.
A few hours after news of the sale broke, an anonymous post attributed to Beerland employees began circulating on Facebook. The post alleges that Beerland employees on Monday night issued a letter to club owner Richard Lynn informing him of plans for a general strike by club bookers, door staff, bartenders and managers.
“We have been dealing with our paychecks bouncing since SXSW and there has been absolutely no transparency on the owner’s part. For months we’ve been working solely on the vague promise that we’ll get paid for our labor,” the post reads. (Lynn did not respond to a request for comment about these allegations.)
With the club's future up in the air, other venues in the district are pitching in to help get the employees paid. On Wednesday, there will be a gig at the Parish featuring sounds by DJ Baby Lisie and Terminator Dave. The bar staff will be donating tips to displaced Beerland employees.
A larger benefit is scheduled for June 6 at Empire Control Room & Garage. Post-punk outfit Broken Gold will perform and the event will include raffles, giveaways and a bake sale to raise money for Beerland employees.
"The goal is to get these people paid for the time that they have dedicated to a monument of local and touring acts," event organizers say in a Facebook post about the event. They go on to add, "We care. We want live music to be alive in Austin."