A popular club in downtown Calgary is closing for good, citing operational costs and rent issues as the reason for shutting its doors.
On Tuesday, the owners of HiFi posted on their social media pages that the venue would be shutting down immediately.
Co-owner Pete Emes said they tried to weather the COVID-19 storm, but that keeping the lights on while not being able to fill the room didn’t make sense.
“We looked at a few options as far as distancing within the space but it’s a small space,” said Emes. “To try to do that and still be viable as a business wasn’t really possible for us.”
More than 1,000 people commented on the announcement of HiFi’s closure, reminiscing about 15 years of live music at the club.
“It’s just made us realize how many great events and how many great shows we’ve done here,” said Emes. “We’ve done a lot of reminiscing ourselves and it’s been incredible.”
Emes said he doesn’t know when or how the live music scene in Calgary will rebound, but wouldn’t rule out the possibility that HiFi could make a comeback post-pandemic.
“Down the road, we are going to re-evaluate and hopefully be able to create a new space for you to enjoy,” said Emes.
Impact on the music community
Timur Inceoglu, a co-founder of Canadian Independent Venue Coalition, said the loss of HiFi means one less springboard for musicians trying to make it big.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow, given the fact that a lot of development artists come through a venue like HiFi,” said Inceoglu. “It hurts the upward trajectory of a lot of these artists that would play a room of that size.”
Inceoglu said that live venues will continue to suffer until gathering restrictions are lifted, but added that owners realize that keeping venues closed or at a limited capacity is their way of not contributing to the spread of the coronavirus.