On March 13th, The Summit Music Hall closed its doors one day ahead of Governor Mike DeWine‘s statewide mandate temporarily shuttering all bars and restaurants in Ohio. Though restrictions have since softened in the Buckeye State, the Columbus venue co-owned by The Werks drummer Rob Chafin remains closed. Though no fans will be in attendance, December 26th will see The Summit host the Save The Summit livestream featuring Columbus jam outfit BareFuzz.
Opened in fall 2019, Chafin operates the venue alongside his business partners Chris Salvato and Trey Burris. Salvato and Burris have steered the Columbus live music scene for nearly a decade, notably with the weekly institution “Weird Wednesdays” at the former Scarlet & Grey Cafe near Ohio State University’s campus beginning in 2014. Though the Cafe closed down prior to the pandemic Salvato, Burris, and their new partner Chafin kept the tradition alive at The Summit during its brief heydey before the shutdown of all concerts.
As the future of live music remains a distant mirage, the team at The Summit has also decided to pursue a new venture. The Save The Summit stream on December 26th will also serve as the soft opening for Crunchwerks, a new restaurant operating adjacent to The Summit in the conjoined bar Cafe Bourbon St. It is the hope of The Summit’s operators that the casual Tex-Mex eatery will generate enough income to maintain operating expenses for the venue as it remains closed and costs continue to accumulate.
“Staying closed is an easy decision to make. People’s lives are at stake, it just isn’t worth it,” Salvato said in a press release. “We’re grateful for the support of the community in our decision. Very enthusiastic about the new restaurant, and the future in general.”
The stream will also feature a Dunk-A-Thon, which will allow fans who donate to dunk various members of the staff or maybe even some willing participants from BareFuzz. The Summit has also launched a GoFundMe campaign that allows fans of live music from Columbus and beyond to donate to the cause and keep local music alive in the state capital.
“While on tour with my band, visiting music cities like Nashville, New Orleans, and Austin, I would always dream about helping elevate Columbus to be the next big music hotspot in the country,” Chafin said in a press release. “We were definitely on track to helping make that dream a reality, however the pandemic certainly threw us a curveball. With your help, we will be able to Save The Summit and keep the Columbus live music thriving and living up to its true potential!”
Tune in to Save The Summit on December 26th beginning at 6 p.m. ET on the venue’s Facebook page.