The Wormhole: A When, How, and Why

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

By: Chris Horton 11150533_10206452837937318_5240856775256058722_n

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“A Dive bar with class”
The Wormhole started about 8 years ago, with very humble beginnings. A self described “dive” bar. While it retains it’s humble atmosphere, it has also become one of the best venues to see shows. They have open mic, local bands, national bands, comedy night, great bar food, couches to hang out with your friends…There is literally something for everyone.

That’s why it’s so sad that they have (as well as Graveface Records across/down the street) recently had to deal with noise complaints. Even up to dealing with litigation, in court. Currently, they are sitting on an order to shut down the live music. That is, unless they can raise the funds to soundproof the venue. There will be plenty of info at the end of this article to tell you how you can help.

I got to speak with owner/operator Amy Stafford about how she feels about The Wormhole. I could have asked her about the court dates, and the struggles as of late. But I want everyone to know more than that. I want you all to hear how much she loves her business, her bands, her employees, and her neighborhood.

I remember “year one” of the Wormhole. It has come such an incredibly long way. What made you want to open the venue in the first place? 

I like to travel, and it seemed that most cities usually had a cool dive music bar off the beaten path, booking in an “anything goes” kind of way. I wanted to bring this format to Savannah. The Jinx, and former Velvet Elvis, thankfully provided a place for some of the top music for some of the longing fans like myself, but I felt Savannah had enough potential to add another stage into the mix, to book shows that didn’t make it into the other venues schedule, and to grow the scene further. There were many good shows passing Savannah due to lack of available venues, and there were lots of locals who didn’t get to play on a professional stage very often. We had full bands trying to book poorly equipped coffee houses and such just to make do. I started out as a DIY promoter and found that the lack of venue thwarted the efforts of promoters. By the time you rented a space and sound equipment, the budget was already blown, before you even got into booking bands and advertisement. I felt like a space that was already set up with stage and sound system would help promoters and take care of half of their work. Plus, like I said, I’m a huge music fan so it’s been a labor of love.

You have had some great opportunities to book some huge bands (Band of Horses, Kylesa, Thrill Kill Kult) yet the Wormhole always retains a friendly, “no ego-everyone welcome” environment. It always feels like home when you walk in. Is that what you always envisioned? Was that the dream?
The neighborly vibe has always been in the design from the very beginning. I wanted to create a place that was welcoming and encouraging. I didn’t want it to be a place where only one genre of music or one type of person was found. I go over this mission with each new employee, and make sure that I hire people who are friendly, and open minded to all genres and see talent for talent. One of the many reasons I chose a neighborhood location is because I didn’t want to end up needing that tough-guy downtown mentality to keep the peace. I wanted to have the neighborhood watering hole vibe. All of our regulars are also our neighbors. And I try to be as accommodating as possible, from booking bands at various points in their development (from headliners to noobs,) to offering drinks like “mocktails” for music lovers that don’t drink, gluten free beer or meeting other dietary concerns.
There are many musicians that I have personally heard call The Wormhole their “favorite stage to play” and “the best sound system in Savannah”. Some of these musicians were local, some were out of town bands. How does that make you feel?
It’s really awesome to hear that, because the sound and stage took a while to develop. It didn’t start out that way; because of some budget issues in the beginning, we had to turn away the equipment recommended for us through an advisement with Bryan Bailey (spell?) of Stage Front. We couldn’t get that equipment, but luckily my friends lent me equipment and we were able to piece-meal a system out of it to have our very first show! And over time, I upgraded and added on until it’s become very professional and offers the quality that musicians deserve to show their talent. I’m also lucky that I had Jeff Neugebauer join the team as sound engineer a few years ago, and he really took it under his wing and developed the pro stage that it is today. However, it’s a never-ending process and Jeff is always learning more and coming up with ways to improve the stage and what he can offer to performers.
The Starland district as a whole has seen a resurgence of great local businesses, do you feel almost like a “pioneer” since you had one of the first places in the area to open up? 
I do think of us as a pioneer! Back in the Day Bakery was the only other business in the area at the time. There was no Foxy Loxy, Green Truck, Graveface, Florence, or any of the others. Even the store across from us became abandoned for many years and was a terrible eye-sore. I’m really glad that all these creative and awesome businesses have chosen Starland like us, because it’s a great neighborhood, and I love feeling like a family with those other businesses. Everyone use to tell me that I was crazy for opening in this area, but I saw it’s potential. People have quit telling me I picked a poor location and even a lot of people have told us that they moved into the neighborhood because of us! 
Thank you Amy!

You can donate to help The Wormhole keep it’s live music going by donating to their campaign:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-wormhole-no-sound-in-space#/story

You can also donate the easy way, by stopping by the bar and giving Amy some cash, if you dont have paypal or a credit card.

Lastly, there is a party planned for their campaign,

you can get tickets by going to http://www.wormholebar.com/.

NO SOUND IN SPACE PARTY

SAT, MAY 30, 2015

DOORS: 12:00 PM / SHOW: 9:30 PM

$5.00 – $50.00

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Comments
  1. Angel says:

    Chris, I Just saw this page, and am definitely going to read everything on it. Just wanted to say, you’re writing skills are great! Since we have been friends on facebook I am enthralled with the stories you write. They keepy attention, and are just very intellectual! And I love this story! The Wormhole is perfect!

  2. Hipsters sucks says:

    Im a tool that trolls people’s pages. Please email me at Otepsbitch@yahoo.com

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