After more than a year, the Mohawk plans to reopen with limited capacity shows
For the first time in over a year, the Mohawk, a downtown haven for indie rock, punk and more live music, will open its doors to the public this summer.
The beloved Red River Cultural District club with a grizzly bear mascot and a guiding philosophy that "all are welcome" has been closed since the pandemic shut the world down in March 2020. According to a news release, the club will reopen on a limited basis in May with "select shows, private events, and rentals," followed by more daytime events and reduced capacity outdoor shows in June.
While other venues have experimented with different models for reopening over the last several months, Mohawk owner James Moody opted to remain shuttered.
"I'm going to run a safe venue. I'm going to open after I see other people do it safely," he told the American-Statesman in March.
As the club reopens, the Mohawk will be following both CDC recommendations and the principles laid out in the Safe in Sound safety pledge that numerous Austin businesses have signed.
"We're not going to be doing big shows," Moody said in March. "We're going to be doing a more spotty calendar, and lower capacity, and a lot of, like, private events and day rentals and that kind of stuff. We're just going to ease back into the market, instead of just flipping the switch and (having) 1,000 people crawling all over each other."
(Across the street from the Mohawk, 2100-capacity Stubb's BBQ plans to reopen with a series of five sold-out Black Pumas shows in late May.)
Starting next month, the Mohawk will be available to rent for "rehearsals, recordings, private events, celebrations, meetings, classes, photography and content development," according to the announcement. In the months spent dark, the space has been improved and redesigned to better support expanded day usage and private rentals.
"There is some healthy learning that's also happened," Moody said in March. "Even though this pandemic would have shut everyone down, and it did, it still taught all of us in the venue business, that our models, our business models weren't quite ready for any pressure testing."
In order to survive, he believes venues must move away from a business model in which these large spaces are only used for a few hours each night.
The club will also reopen with a pledge to actively improve its work culture.
"A few items on the agenda include increased wage minimums, salaried roles, access to health insurance, and a formal HR program with paths to advancement and opportunities for mentorship. Overall, we believe it is time to advance the culture of our industry as it relates to staff, and working to create more careers than jobs over time," according to the announcement.