Fort Worth's Southside suffers musical loss with club and record store closures
A live music venue on Fort Worth's Southside is closing: Main at South Side, which was a popular spot to see local musicians, comics, and other artists, is closing after five years.
Its final date will be September 23, with a show featuring Royal Sons, North By North, and Summit Valley.
The venue called it "sad news," and thanked the bands, fans, artists, and patrons who supported them while they were open, stating that "this venue existed because of you, and we will be forever grateful."
"M.A.S.S." was opened in 2017 by a large group that included musicians, music industry people, and owners of other bars, who were inspired to open a spot in the neighborhood that would host live music for local acts, and also give performers a voice.
They found a space at 1002 S. Main St., which had been home to a series of clubs, most recently El Remy, and prior to that Club Konection and Copa Cabana. It's a sweet little building that holds 200 tops.
While there was a large group behind it, the two who ran the day-to-day were Alan Brown, who did the booking, and Ryan Riggs, who was previously involved with Lola's Saloon and the Impala, and who served as managing partner.
They kept up a brisk schedule of shows, hosting music three to four nights per week, often four bands every night, plus songwriters, open mic nights, comedy acts, and the occasional festival — eventually emerging as a champion of the local arts by providing a platform for performers of all stripes.
"So many bands, artists, and creatives love, respect, and support Main at South Side," said one ardent fan. "Thank you for supporting artists, musicians, and creatives the way that y'all have. This venue has kept the Fort Worth Music Scene vibrant and alive against so many odds."
Brown blames the changes in lifestyle wrought in the aftermath of the pandemic as a factor in their closing.
"It's always tough for independent venues focused on local music, and COVID definitely didn't help," he says. "But we provided a great space for artists to express themselves for five years, and we're all very proud of that."
The decision to close was a little sudden. The venue still has some shows that were confirmed after their September 23 closure date, but they're finding new homes for those shows.
"We are working with some of the other great venues in Fort Worth to see if we can relocate your shows, as we've never been fans of canceling," the club said.
Caught in the shrapnel of the closure is Dreamy Life Records and Music, a Fort Worth record label and store from owner Cameron Smith that was housed inside the club; they'll close on September 23, as well.
"Dreamy Life Records will continue our journey as we began, as a record label dedicated to nurturing the creation and sharing of vital music from North Texas and beyond, but after 8 years and four different store locations, we feel the time has come to close this chapter in our little legacy, but our story will not end here," Smith vowed.
The Near Southside Facebook page called Smith and the team of Dreamy Life "a staple of Fort Worth's music scene for a decade, undeniably the sound of the Southside."
"As they shift away from a formal record store presence we know their advocacy for local music and musicians continues in many other ways," they said. "You can support them by showing up for the sale when a date is announced to take home CD’s, cassettes, records and posters from some of the Near Southside’s most accomplished musicians and dreamers. Our sincere thanks to this crew for their many contributions to the culture of the Near Southside over the years."