KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A local concert venue that was a Kansas City fixture for more than a decade closed its doors this weekend. The owners of The Riot Room say that after the start of the COVID pandemic, it was a challenge to get back on track.
âIt’s a bummer, we’ve been here for a long time,â co-owner Dallas Gutschenritter told FOX4.
For 13 years, the Riot Room has hosted bands like Rakim, Slick Rick, Rif-Raff and countless others, a stark contrast to its front door which is now barricaded.
Gutschenritter was co-owner of the space with his brother, Tim. He says venues went from closing in 2020 to opening in 2021, but that was never completely âback to normalâ for the concert hall.
âIt has become very difficult to get back to a correct show schedule, and there have been a lot of ups and downs because of it,â he said.
But they persevered. The duo started a GoFundMe and applied for a small business grant, but they are still waiting to see if they will receive any funds. While they waited, the income swung up and down.
The owner of the building then told the brothers that they were going in a different direction and that another company was going to acquire the space. Gutschenritter said that although The Riot Room is no longer in Westport, its legacy will remain a part of Kansas City culture.
âIt was very touching to see and hear the memories people had in this room,â he said.
Less than a mile away, Westport Saloon owner Travis Fields said its doors are open now, but the live music industry in Westport has struggled for years and the pandemic sealed the deal. . Fields called the new reality “depressing.”
âCOVID came along and kind of kicked us when we were down,â Fields said. âWith fewer people interested in live music in the neighborhood, it affected our results. “
Both owners said it’s important to remember to visit your local businesses.
âThey are the foundation of our community. Its very important. Sometimes we don’t realize it until those places are gone. said Gutschenritter.
The Riot Room still has shows scheduled, and the venue has no plans to cancel them. They hope to move the shows to another nearby venue or possibly to their own new location if they can get one.