By Blaine Ewig
The rumor mill around town has been abuzz with allegations that Olympia’s beloved all-ages, DIY music venue and gallery space, the Northern, will be coming to a close. These rumors are exactly that; rumors. The Northern will not, in fact, be closing. However, many big changes will be coming their way.
The Northern’s landlord has chosen not to renew the spaces’ lease after December, meaning that a change of location is imminent. The plan is that the Northern will team up with the Midnight Sun, running shows out of the space which is currently operated by Theater Arts Olympia. According to Northern volunteer Mariella Luz, the Midnight Sun and the Northern have good rapport and previously worked together from 2011 to 2012, before the Northern set up at the Legion Way location. Luz said, “The Midnight Sun has a long history of having music/punk/DIY shows and we are really excited to be working with them again.”
The Northern will not be the only organization affected by the lease. Bar Francis, a coffee shop run out of the same space during the day, has already made a move to Dumpster Values in the space formerly occupied by The Cusp, a local anarchist collective. Community Print will also be forced to relocate, but has yet to find a location.
Shows put on by the Northern will be more sparse, cutting from approximately 14 shows per month to about five. But the organization hopes to make the best of troubled times by putting more focus on the promotion of the events. The gallery component will be cut completely, but Luz remains optimistic— “Olympia has a pretty amazing community for all ages shows. Even though we’ll be scaling back I know the music scene here will continue to thrive.”