We switch gears this week and talk with Chris Cobb, owner of the Exit/In music venue in Nashville, TN, OG Nutbutter Campmate, and precinct captain of the newly formed National Independent Venue Association. NIVA was formed to help preserve the ecosystem of independent venues across the country while they are force to close throughout the pandemic. Chris shared some eye-opening insights about the state of live music and told us what he thought it would take for a large festival like Bonnaroo to resume. Also: has Brad found the perfect festival food?
Guest: Chris Cobb
Hey, hey, hey, hey. How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artist playing by the rules. Who are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year, that matter with Brad Steiner and Barry Courter. The What Podcast, a podcast for Bonnaroovians by Bonnaroovians. The beards are getting thicker. The hair is getting longer. The days are never ending. Quarantine show number, I feel like we're on number five or six by now. Barry Courter, Lord Taco, Brad Steiner. Joined today by Camp Mate. I don't know if I can really officially call him a camp mate, although he has a legendary cartoon giant head on a stick. We've only seen him at camp twice in 10 years. Yeah. Yeah, I met him. I met him at Camp Nut Butter. Right. He had a head and I thought, OK, he's you know, he's more legit than I am at that point. And then I saw him again. He showed up one day to make some scrambled eggs and then we never saw him again. He came strong that year, but then he never came back. Yeah. So joining us today to add a little bit of perspective to where we are in the industry and where we are with all of this coronavirus stuff is Chris Cobb from Exit In and some other venues around the around the southeast, including I think I didn't I keep forgetting this. Doesn't he have one in Louisville? Does he have a no, no, no, he was part he and his partner at one point owned the Masquerade and there's and another one in Kansas City and Kansas City. That's part owner of the Signal here in Chattanooga. But now he just has Exit In, which we talked a little bit about that. But just I wanted to have him on as a guest to, you know, get that sort of side of it, the independent the venue owner, what they're going through. But he's also very active in a new organization called the National Independent Venue Association, NEVA, which we didn't really get into it too much. But if you think about it, those guys never they got together to try to get federal money with all this, you know, government throwing money at businesses and as a independent place with 20 employees, there's a whole lot harder to ask for money than if they were all together. Yeah, I see. So they they banded together because there's, you know, more power in numbers. So and hopefully and he said mentions this a little bit in the conversation. They're hoping to work together. You know, it's makes no no sense in reinventing a wheel, as I always like to say. So the other thing that he does for the Nashvilleites that listen or the Tennessee folk that are on the show today, he also runs Live on the Green, which is a really terrific if if OK, so I'm in radio. There is nothing more impressive than what Lightning 100 has done with virtually no ratings in Nashville and put together a really terrific free concert series every week in summer for a month in the summer over the last 15, 20 years. And Chris has been the driving force behind all of that on the production and booking side. Lightning 100 being on the radio station side, basically organizing it from the top down. Lightning 100 being the official radio station for Bonnaroo. So whenever you are listening to radio Bonnaroo, you're listening to a production from Lightning 100, Lightning 100, the radio station behind Live on the Green, Live on the Green produced by Chris Cobb. There we go. There's our three degree separation for the podcast today. It's a great conversation. I knew it would be. Chris is I mean, he's like as you just said, he's got his hands in a lot of things and very knowledgeable about what's going on. And unfortunately, I think that's the right word, he confirms, echoes exactly what you've been saying and what we've been saying on this show for the last several weeks. In that this thing has a long way to go before we even get before we even start. I don't even what's not reopening. Not normal. We're not going to be normal. But I tell you, we've got a long way to go. The only thing that you need to worry about and we need to worry about is human beings who want to go do things. Just keep watching the news for vaccine news, because nothing's going to happen until the vaccine hits. And hearing that there is there is there's positive movement on that from I forget who it was today. It wasn't somebody from Johns Hopkins, but it was it was at least positive movement in the direction of finding a vaccine. That's the only way we get out of this is if there is a vaccine available and that you can present a card that you have been vaccinated the second you walk into a live music venue. That seems to me like the only way we get out of this and into a space where we can begin to look at large festivals or large gatherings more than just the 250 space club. Before we get into Christo, by the way, this would be a great time for if you wanted to be a beer sponsor for the What Podcast. This would be a great time for a product placement. Hello PBR. Thank you. Oh, PBR. Yeah. Yeah, that's an extra money right now. You are here. I want to go through a couple of things that happened this week. Speaking of radio stations, I've got to hand it to a radio station that I compete with here in New Orleans. Now, I can't really say I compete with them. They're an NPR station, WWZ, which found fame with the TV show Treme, which was on HBO. They were an institution in New Orleans. They mostly run NPR, but throughout the day it's jazz and New Orleans heritage sort of music. They figured out a way to take recordings from the last 30 years of Jazz Fest, and they've been running them for nine hours a day, 10 hours a day, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday over the last two weeks. It has been phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal to listen to. It's gone from Big Freedia to Irma Thomas. It is close to as, because they're all live recordings, it is close to feeling like I'm at Jazz Fest as I could have been. Now we've talked about how live recordings don't work, especially when you're watching them through a computer, but I'll tell you, for a radio nerd like me, it works over the radio. It works over the radio when we're all communally doing something. Now we live five blocks from Jazz Fest, so I get to walk my neighborhood every day, and every single house is communally doing the same thing, which is listening to Jazz Fest and walking around with daiquiris and cocktails. It has been phenomenal, and if there is a way to make that happen, should there be no Bonnaroo or should there not be any festival, the guide will be WWOC and Jazz Fest in place. Now I don't know how you get that to work, because I don't think it works on a screen for some reason. I've watched all these live performances, Barry. They don't work when I'm watching them. They work when I'm standing, because concerts are standing things and walking around and doing something and being able to talk to your friends. People have been over at each other's houses. They've been hanging out in yards. It works over the radio. It doesn't work over a screen. If something's going to happen as a communal thing like Bonnaroo or Shaky Knees, it's not going to be via a live stream on a TV or a computer. You had it playing when we signed on, or Hillary did. Yeah, that makes sense. I hadn't thought of it that way. It helps that you're five blocks from where, so it has to have that sense of place. It has to be amazing. You're in New Orleans where Jazz Fest is an institution. Right. Probably, I mean, yeah, I get what you're saying. There are, and that's the power of radio. I can't see me sitting on a couch watching hours of past Bonnaroo shows. Right, but if they did it via a Bonnaroo app and did Bonnaroo radio. Absolutely, absolutely. We all got to listen to it that way, communally doing the same thing. I got to imagine it would work. People like us would communally get together. If we did Bonnaroo radio and Bonnaroo's app listed a grid of an entire Wednesday through Sunday of previous Bonnaroo performances and streamed them, we could have a Bonnaroo listening party at the Moxie in Chattanooga and do a live podcast. We could get together with our Bonnaroo friends. There's got to be a way of doing this. It's not a live stream. It's my whole point. I'm not sitting around watching stuff through screens. It just doesn't work. No, no, I agree. Just hearing what you, that little bit, I got it. It seems really cool. The other thing that I noticed because the big food, the big Jazz Fest food, they're delivering it. The food at Jazz Fest is all done locally. The local people, since they don't have Jazz Fest, they're delivering the Jazz Fest food while you Jazz Fest in place. One of the foods that is being delivered, one of the classic Jazz Fest foods is called crawfish bread. Oh my God. Let me tell you something about this. It is a local bread berry and inside of it is two different types of melted cheese and crawfish. It simultaneously gives you your fat and bread to soak up alcohol. It is the perfect festival food. It's perfect. It's like pizza times 10. It sounds like that poutine we had up there. The poutine didn't have the bread on it, right? No, but it had fries. It had fries. I know, but too greasy, too oily. This was not as oily. I thought we were talking about hangover food. I'm talking about the perfect festival food. I found it, guys. It's hangover food, isn't it? It's crawfish pie. It's crawfish pie. It sounds delicious. Yeah, it's really good. Then the final thing, or two other things, speaking of crawfish, one of our people that we see every year in guest camping and he's also out in the pods. Apparently last year he was in pod nine, was a crawfish king. Superfly buys this guy. They hired this guy to come in and do food for pods and for the guest services thing. He does a crawfish foil every Thursday at guest camping. It was a Wednesday. It might be Thursday in guest camping. Then he does it in all the other pods around the weekend. I ran into him just completely by random at this random gas station in Gentilly. I'm like, oh my God, it's a Bonnaroo guy. We get to spend some time talking Bonnaroo and I think that he wants to join us on the podcast very soon. Yeah, awesome. Crawfish King. Love it. Then one final thing. Superfly, Superfly for People was a co-founder of Bonnaroo and they were in New Orleans. They were originally. They're not part of Bonnaroo anymore. They're not in New Orleans anymore. The final thing is Barry was on a podcast this past week. I've got some questions for you, Barry. Okay, go ahead. Tell me the podcast that you found yourself on this past week. I was on with the RooHamm guys. RooHamm guy. Yeah, the taco was on there the day before and then I did it Friday for a little while. Yeah, I was on Thursday and he was basically doing one day every day this week, work week, talking about a different year of Bonnaroo from 2015, 2016. So I came on 2018 and then Barry came on Friday to talk about 2019 last year. Well it's nice of them to include everybody on the podcast. It's nice of them. But I just must have missed that invite. They went high. At least we can get you on. We know someone. Good. Here's the thing that I tuned in. I think that you'd be very surprised. Were you surprised? Why? Yeah, just was surprised. I was surprised. Because it wasn't about you. So I didn't know what was happening. Had I not talked to Barry five minutes before it happened, I would not have turned it on. So I watched Barry for a second. First off, of course he was late because the old man couldn't figure out how to work technology, which I found to be hysterical. Secondly, Barry, I'm glad the set looks better today, but you look like you were in a halfway house yesterday. You had ceiling tiles falling. You had ductwork exposed. What in the world was happening at that house? I know. And I was so embarrassed by that it's going to get fixed this week. For those of you who don't know, I remodeled my kit. Kitchen several years ago and I had to tear the ceiling out in this office to get to plumbing and electrical and I haven't replaced the ceiling. And I normally do this with my computer camera. And yesterday was Instagram, which I hadn't planned on, which meant I had to use my phone, which meant I stood here and was putting up at that horrible ceiling. So it looked like you had, I know it looked like it looked like you need to take a bathroom break while you were rescuing your kid from a junkie's house. Wow. That's, that's descriptive. It did not look like a residential building. It looked like something that was about to catch on fire. It's fair. I'm not going to disagree with you. I'm ashamed and it's going to get fixed. I've actually made some improvements in here today for that very reason. Well, it looks great today. Today it's a step in the right direction. Well, lesson learned. And I was late, not because I couldn't figure out the technology though. That caused me to be 20 seconds late. I was late because I had an unbelievable interview for the paper about something that we'll get into sometime later. But it's a pretty cool thing. Do you want me to go through these Patreons? Oh yeah. We've got a lot of patrons to go through. Sure. Let's go through them all. And the Mike Tyson group, Aaron Carlson, Bill and David Grimes. Thanks to these guys, by the way, Frank Swanson, Liesl Condor, Phil Hanley, Timothy Proctor, Chloe Hamm, Hannon, excuse me. I bet I say that wrong every week. Chloe Hannon, Dan Sweeney, Dustin Garrick, Haley, Mary T, Melody and Jesse Feldman, Mitchell Stafford, Musical Antlers, Parker Reed, Skyler Torrey, Chelsea Davis, Evan Brown, Gordon Silver, Jason Hazelbaker, Joshua Herndon, Lauren Edholm, Linda Doles, Lucy Young, Nick Yeatman, Ross McNamara, Ryan Mathewson, Sean McCarthy, Tyrone Baskett, William Richards, Clay Wilhoyt, Andrew McBride, Catherine Riccio, David Solano, Jacob Marty, Justin Nigro, Meredith Ritman, Brooke Tussie, Daniel and Sharla Horton, David Henson, Ella Ilnai and Sean McCain. I could have sworn we said the word some Patreons. Not all. We don't have any more time, do we? I guess not. No, we got to talk to Chris. This is a really, really fun conversation. It's a little lengthy, so come back to it if you need to. But we appreciate you listening to What Podcast. Chris Cobb from Exit In and Live on the Green, What Podcast. All right. Well, all right. Chris and Brad, I wanted to ask, you guys remember, I don't remember the year, probably 10, 11, sitting around Camp Nut Butter and Denson saying, you know, in about 10 years, there's going to be this pandemic and we're all going to be sheltering at home and trying to figure out how to make a living. Yeah. And I pulled Denson because he'd be the only one who would know what a freaking pandemic is. You remember when that happened? No. Because I can't imagine Denson having any sort of forethought that anything that happened much less 15 minutes than 10 years. But it is a very strange thing. And seeing Chris via Skype and video is more than actually seeing him at Bonnaroo, which is too bad. Let's set the stage for everybody. So Chris Cobb, thanks for joining us. Chris owns Exit In in Nashville and Live on the Green, correct? Well, I don't know Live on the Green, but I've been there since the beginning. Been working. Okay. And you are this guy. Oh, there I am. It's his head right over the shoulder there. Oh, I see it. There's our head. There's his head on the Camp Nut Butter row of heads. So yeah. And as a late- We call them inmates, Barry. We call them inmates. I was on the roof. I was there at least once. Yeah. And you were there last year, strangely. The only one not there is Dewar, who's on there somewhere. We had actually, everybody that's on that was there last year, except for the guy who started or was the first there, been every year, and then my Dewar. So anyway. Well, actually, since you brought that up, it's an interesting question. You got to Bonnaroo, God knows, I don't know when we did those giant cartoon heads on sticks. I think it might have been 2012. You might be right about that. And then you weren't there for a while, and then you came back last year. Why the gap and why last year brought you back? Well, I had work conflicts for a number of years. Not allowed. So I went down the first, I think, seven. Six or seven, I made it consecutively. And then I got too old to leave the CMA site and drive to Bonnaroo and drive back and work CMA again the next morning. So I had to retire for a few years. Well, that's something I didn't even know. What do you do at CMA? Yeah, I didn't either. Well, I used to work CMA fast, and I haven't in a number of years. I managed to stage down there for five or six years, and then I managed to zone, which is one of the internal ways that the areas are mapped out on the site. And then I made the huge mistake of taking over signage for the festival one year, and that brought upon my retirement. Wait, you're going to have to start over. I don't know what signage means. What does that mean in actuality when you actually have to put, is it literally hanging signs, organizing signs? Is that my being too dumb here? That's the question I should have asked when I said the question. So what happened that year was there was a change of the guard in the production crew. And it turns out nobody really knew what it meant. But what it ended up meaning was going to the warehouse, figuring out everything that was in there, inventorying all the signage, determining if there are gaps in the inventory, having new signs created if so, and then getting everything distributed throughout the site, the grounds of CMA, which of course are quite large. But it has nothing to do with actually designing the signs or measuring or printing them yourself or finding a printer, that stuff. That's all taken care of by somebody else. Oh, yeah. I could never do anything like that. I just, I'm typically, I'm best working from here down. Only time anyone's ever hired me is from here down. Just like the mid group. Sure. You go with what you're good at, man. That's my philosophy. The other thing that Chris does, I mean, obviously all of this is related to what we do here, Brad and Russ, but the other thing is you are now, and maybe the title has changed, but you're what, Southeast Chief of the National Independent Venues Association, which is brand new. And I'm curious to talk about that. There's, I mean, you guys are, you got together to try to get federal money, relief money during this pandemic, right? But your hope is that more comes of it ongoing. I don't mean to put words in your mouth, but I'll let you describe what it is. Yeah, I mean, you said it, you said it right there, Barry. Precinct Captain is what you were looking for, which I think that's an internal term, mostly. I don't know. It's certainly not an official title, but yeah. So I think it's been maybe 20 days now, almost three weeks. I got a text from Dana Frank, who owns First Ave up in Minneapolis, and she said, hey, are you getting on these town hall meetings that Independent Venue Week has been doing? And I said, no, I haven't had time. And she said, you need to get on there. And also, hey, you need to, she said, here, you need to, we need to chat. So a couple call with her and Gary Witt out of Minneapolis, who owns the Pabst Theater Group up there, and Audrey in DC, communications director for all the IMP venues for Anthem and 930 and Merriweather Post. And ended up spending a bunch of time over the course of about two days on calls. And I think that's when Zoom blew out my speakers on my laptop, actually, just talking about the issues and with those three and trying to figure out how to navigate them. And then the Independent Venue Week thing that I mentioned is an initiative that was started by a PR agency out of New York called Marauder three years ago. And Exit M participated last year and was going to participate again this year. But Long Story Short is just a celebration of independent venues across the country. And you would take a week. And everybody in the country during this one week in the summer declares that it's Independent Venue Week and books local talent and hangs some signs and does a media push really just to raise awareness around independent venues. So what ended up happening was that became the de facto means of communication for all of us independent venues, just because really Marauder and Independent Venue Week were the only people with a database. It's the only way for us to all connect. So Moose, the Reverend Moose, he owns Marauder. I believe he's the owner. Managing partner, I think, actually, if I can visualize his email. He started hosting these town halls and just saying, hey, jump on this Zoom. We're all going to talk. And I got on that. I was on the second one. I missed the first one. There's like over 100 people, independent operators across the country, just talking, just having a conversation like what's going on in Seattle? What's going on in Oklahoma? What are you guys? How are you guys handling it? All that. And out of that and out of Dana saying, we've got to organize as a group the National Independent Venue Association was born, I think, 20 days ago today. We're 1,300 members when I looked on Friday. Wow. When you and I talked, it was what, 400 maybe? 375, something like that? Yeah. But it had about 125 a day every day for over a week. Go ahead, Brad. I'm sorry. For those that maybe don't follow this as closely as we do, there is a difference between an independent venue and a venue. Whereas give me the number as to how many venues around the country, maybe not an exact number, but how many venues around the country owned by and ran by AEG and Live Nation versus how many ran by independents like you and the members in your group? Well, I don't know. But I could tell you that the big two, AEG and Live Nation, have somewhere between 80% and 90% of the global market share. I can't give you numbers of exact rooms. Nobody really can, which is one of the challenges. What's that in America? What's that in our country? Oh, I think it's about the same. It's upward of 80, over 80, I believe. So yeah, that's a big number for any business. So yeah, I hope, Barry, that most of us get through this thing. Some of the polling and data collection that NIVA has been doing among members and in all these different marketplaces, cities and towns across the country is saying that without additional assistance, somewhere around 90% of independent venues are staring at extinction, aren't going to make it to the other side of this crisis. So yes, while the long-term hope, and it's not even a hope, that part will happen. The long-term, now there's an organization and that is great. The problem is that, so there is light at the end, but the tunnel is so long and without something happening, a lot of people are not going to get out of it. So yeah, we're all over the fence for money for independent music venues. That is the goal right now. And just to be very clear, Brad, you hit on it, but for people out there, because I asked the exact same question, what defines an independent venue? And it basically is someone who is not either owned or booked by essentially one of those big two, right, Chris? Yeah, controlled, yeah. Owned by or exclusively booked by, which is really how they control venues that they don't own. And it doesn't mean a single, an independent like yourself can own more than one. I just want to make those distinctions because I had the same questions. Absolutely. Again, some guys can own 456 or whatever. Yeah, which is part of the problem with the first round of the CARES and the PPP funds. The restaurants were able to get in there early and get it changed so that the number of employees per location exemption that restaurants got, music venues did not receive. So if you are a small group, a venue group like the Pabst Theater Group in Minneapolis or the 930 Club Group in Washington, DC, you are not eligible for PPP funding if your entire company had more than 500 employees. Not 500 per venue. You know, IMT is five venues. So they definitely have more than 500 employees and therefore not eligible for funding. Whereas restaurant groups were able to get that change for themselves. So that's one of the changes we're asking for for music venues as well. And let me add too, Brian, I know you got a question, but I had to, I was talking to a guy here and I didn't quite understand myself why it seemed like venues and bars and live music in particular was sort of at the top of the do not, you know, the shutdown list. And it's because they don't want people lingering is what I was told. So because we have too much fun. Yeah, too much fun. But everybody's elbow to elbow having fun and they're lingering. Whereas theoretically a restaurant or now like farmers markets and whatnot, you get in, you get your stuff and you get out. So I just want to throw that into for people like me who were wondering why is live music being picked on? And that's the idea. But before we get into like what the rest of the year looks like financially, how do you and I know I know the generic answer to the question, but how do you make ends meet currently with literally no nothing outside of a PBB loan? Are you coming up with creative ways to to bring shows to people? Are you doing kickstarters or I wouldn't even know where to start. Well, yeah, that's the question, right? And the problem is, is that we put on shows. I mean, at the core, that's what we all do. And so while a restaurant can turn to curbside and maybe still do what they do, we're 100 percent prohibited from from doing what we do, putting on a live experience. And the way that the way that our businesses are structured, the margins are small. And which is why clubs run as much volume as you see them do. We don't do 20 shows a month that exit in because we're all workaholics. We do it because we've got to do it to make the math work. And so while we have come up with some ways to generate a little bit of revenue, it's basically you know, we had a fire hose before and now we've got a trickle. So it really doesn't put a dent in it, unfortunately. Now, it's been, you know, kind of good for mental health and fun to work on the merch line and roll out of a bunch of cool new, you know, we got some we got some sweatpants for the quarantine exit in sweatpants. We thought that was appropriate. Boy, I hope I hope exiting in found its way on the right side of the pant. Yeah, boy, I need to redesign. And I do think, you know, we're already seeing some live stream stuff everywhere. Right. And I believe that that most a lot of venues are going to have an opportunity to host some live streams in a safe manner and stream audience free from their facilities probably soon. And I think fans and artists alike are ready for a little bit more quality in those experiences. So I think there's an opportunity there. Man, yeah, that was watching into the Radiohead Public Library over the weekend. If you haven't been there, check it out. Basically, everything they've ever created is free on their website right now. Gosh, that you're it's interesting that you said it because it's something that I have. I can't believe somebody hasn't figured out yet. You're in Nashville, right? So you've got a good swath of local musicians. I'm in New Orleans. We do, too. You know, the Lumineers, I'm sorry, the revivalists are having just as a hard time making ends meet these days as anybody else. So I don't understand why you have like this swath of artists. They should maybe even Gavin DeGraw in Nashville should be going door to door and playing in front of people's doors. You know, you drop me one hundred bucks. I would pay one hundred dollars to have Kermit Ruffins come to my house and start playing the trombone right in front of my door. That'd be pretty baller. You know, just put the hundred out there. Let's see what happens. I saw a woman locally. I don't live in that good of a neighborhood. I saw a woman locally here who's she's she's an artist, she's a musician and she's cooking, you know, like basically catering style to go like like a dish of enchiladas. And then and then she's got her deck. And when you come to you could order food, come pick it up and she plays. She performs for you when you pick it up. And it's huge. You know, it slams. You can't keep up with demand. Yeah, I will say it does suck. All of this sucks. But there's got to there's out of it's going to come some sort of creative new thing that makes a lot of this easier because like you said, was so interesting. It's a fire hose and now a trickle. And so many industries are realizing that they have one source of ability to make income. Right. And when that one source goes away, you look around like, yeah, it's a tough I mean, it's a tough thing. I mean, we own a we own a you know, a tea shop, you know, when you can't come in and buy tea, there's only so much online ordering you can do. How do you diversify a product without, you know, taking away from the overall mission? I'll add to that. I think part of what we're finding out too, Brad, is there's one source of income coming in, but that even a shop like yours has a lot of people relying on it. You know, the delivery people, the cleaning people, the staff, obviously, you guys, the people who send us herbs. You know, and you got to have the same problem with with venues as well. I mean, you you probably your your staff probably has it a little bit differently because they also work probably other jobs. So you know, they've they've got other, you know, people looking out for them as well, especially I guess I can imagine a lot of your staff was also shared restaurant industry people too. Man, they're all in unemployment and collecting really good money, which is a whole other problem. I'd like to talk about that and I'd like to talk about herbs. Oh, Chris, we could talk about the PPP problems all day. Because having having a staff that is making more money on unemployment than they were at the actual tea shop is the biggest loophole that nobody saw coming with all of this. And nobody seems to care. Yeah, I hope you're wrong. I mean, I hope they're going to I hope DC is going to figure out how to tweak some of these rules. I was funded last week. So everybody OK? Like just had a heart attack. What do you mean by funded? What does that mean? I got a PPP loan. OK. Yeah. And, you know, I was extremely fortunate. It was a good day. Oh, there's Barry said I just saw it. It's big. Yeah. Oh, no, that's Sean. Sean's giant round mound. Oh, yeah. This is news to you. Yeah, Barry's got a huge head. So, yeah, so I got funded and I was like, sweet. You know, the this is amazing news. And then I spent all week trying to figure out how to get that money to the handful of of salaried employees that I had kept on over the course of the last six weeks. And come Friday afternoon, I just finally accepted the fact that they're better off on unemployment because the rules are such a hot mess. But then but the second that they're on unemployment, that means they are just not employed, which then screws you over because you've got to pay 75 percent of that loan to employees, which means you have to hire somebody to give that money to. So who who's who's getting hired and who who who do you want to hire over the people that you have counted on for how ever long you've counted on them? And when they want to come back, you get who you're firing now. Here, it's it's a good luck here. Herein lies the first layer of issues with this mess, as you mentioned, and even if I wanted to hire somebody, they're going to be really hard to find because, again, everybody in the hospitality industry is sitting around picking up eight seventy five a week right now, which was which was more than they were making on salary with me. And specifically to get into the details, I've got folks on small salary who then bartend as well. And those are the people that really was a head scratcher all week trying to sort through like, you know, they make 70 percent of their annual money through tips. And there was some speculation that I could go back and average their tips and then pay that tip average out as a bonus over eight weeks, which is the timeline given to us by the PPP. And I spent all week doing the math and trying to figure it out and wrap my head around and talking to my accountant who is so sick of hearing from me and my banker and other accountants and other bankers and other business owners. And ultimately, nobody could figure out what you were getting at was the forgiveness aspect of the PPP loan. Nobody has the answers of whether or not if I do that, that does that money will then be forgiven by the bank and by the federal government. And so if it's not forgiven, all I'm doing is saddling my business with debt when it is closed and we don't know when it's going to reopen. So it's a really bummer of a decision to wax and wane on all week long. And ultimately, I was frustrated because all the information that I need to make the right decision isn't available. And that's what really tore me up about it. And not only that, every time that you called somebody, they probably had a different answer than the time they talked to you before. And we're talking like this is the problem that's happening now. I'm sure that you have horror stories of just trying to apply for the loan to begin with, because our situation was the most convoluted. It made no sense. Everybody we talked to had a different answer. Then they didn't have an answer. And then all of a sudden, you hear on the news, out of money. And then you're like, wait, we haven't heard anything back. So you wait. There's this buffer of a week that we had to figure out whether or not there was even something coming. It was such a messy process, and even now, it's even messier, but in a totally different way. Let me throw in, because as somebody who's been writing about this since the beginning, it feels like this week, we made a, I'm not going to say over the curve, but something different happened. We started opening things like restaurants. And what we found is, like in your case, Chris, even if you could, you have to be at half capacity, right? So now you got to figure out the math. How do you make, I mean, as you said earlier, the margins were already tight and low. So now you've got to figure out how to make enough money to survive with half capacity to bring your employees back, if that's even possible. Right. Could you run half capacity right now, if you wanted to, in Tennessee? Not at exit N. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I'm glad I'm using no exit N. Okay. I do have a spot next door to exit N. Hurry back, that we could run. Well, we can't, because I'm in Nashville. I'm in Davidson. So we're still under the mayor's orders. If I was a county over, I could, and we've been doing a little bit of, we've been trying to do some delivery in Curbside. We've been doing it. It just hasn't been very successful. Yeah. Plus I have, my wife is the innkeeper here, Chris, at a place, and my sister called to ask if her two college-age kids could maybe get a job. Hadn't even thought of that. I mean, not to, I mean, I want to talk to you about this, but it just, imagine kids coming home for summer, looking for summer work when you've got, you know, your regular people not working. So it's so many layers to this thing. But yeah, it's just, it's not a simple matter of just opening the front door, is it? We've been saying that from the beginning. And that's my point about we've gotten to this point now where we're starting to talk about reopening and the realities are hitting people smack in the face. Yeah. I don't know, Barry. You know, we had, Tennessee had its highest day case count on Friday. Now I think 800 of those came out of a prison. So that certainly skews the numbers in a big way. But I wake up every morning and go to that New York Times page with the state and county data for every state and county around the country. And I look at Nashville and I look at the state of Tennessee and that line is just going up. Yeah. And if you were to open, let's just like, shits and giggles. If you were to open right now, do you have any confidence that you would even get people into your room? Man. No, absolutely not. No. We skipped right past like buying thermometers, putting in everything and spending, you know, $10,000 and all that crap and finding security who let's just set the PPP aside and say that people want to work. Like, okay, but now your job is taking people's temperatures. By the way, I have never wanted more than a giant bouncer to start putting thermometers in my body. Boy, oh boy, when we decided to make the bouncers the head medical staff of the event venues. Are we going back to the the Exit and Sweatpants here? Or not? Consumer confidence is at an all time low. A and B, nobody has any money. So that's why that's why this federal initiative with NEVA and Congress fixing the CARES Act in version four here in May and figuring out how to get more money to those most effective is absolutely critical to not only what we're talking about, but like the recovery of the country because we're going to be closed a long time, a lot longer than they thought. A and B, once we are able to open, who's coming out? How long is it going to take to rebuild the 75% capacity that we were averaging? It took us decades to get there. Frankly, 75 is a high number. It's not going to turn right back on. Well, that's what we've got to get to make money back to the thin margins. Let me ask because I had a conversation and it was private, so I won't name names, but you all know him. Is his head behind you? But he said something about he's trying to book, he's rebooking shows, right, rescheduling, but he's got the acts calling and they're trying to negotiate money. And Brad, we probably ought to have some acts on to talk about it from that side, but from your end, Chris, I mean, you're looking at 50% maximum of what you used to have. What is the capacity of Exit-In? 500. So, now you're at 250. And if you're booking a show that was, say they wanted $5,000 for, you know, a 500, are they coming at you saying we'll do it for 25 or are they saying we want five because we're starving or I mean, you know what I'm saying? How is that negotiation going right now? If it is even happening? It's happening. It's definitely happening. I work with great agents and managers and artists myself and so the conversations that I've been having with these folks are super easy and positive and it's basically like we're going to figure it out together how to make it work. So what, you know, where seven weeks ago it was who can walk away with one more penny, you know, than the other party, which is just a derivative, I think, of a business that was booming for 10 years, but it stopped. And so the conversation I've had have been, yeah, let's confirm the date for, you know, Q4 or Q1 or Q2 of 2021, which are really the conversations I'm having are really 2021 if I'm talking about booking and we're confirming dates, but we're not confirming a deal. We're not confirming terms on the money because nobody knows, you know, it's going to be a rebuild and we've got to get it right and we've got to be partners. You guys hearing that? It's my air compressor in the garage. Very. I hope it's nice to cool in there. It'll kick off in a minute. Let's just hang on, let's just pause for a minute. Probably should. You want me to go turn it off? That's terrible. Oh, geez, Louise. It sounds like you're just Dexter live in your garage. It's I forgot what I was doing as air hose. Hang on. Chopping bodies. Can you air up my tire while you're back there? So real quick, since we have a break, how many tires who is this guy in the bottom corner here for me and how many tires does that thing you're in have? He's the Lord of tweeting and communicating online producer of the what podcast and and our new member of Camping Up Butter last year. He was the one that brought the the green Volkswagen bus. Yeah, yeah, right now. I'm yeah, I'm actually sitting in it right now. And it's been sitting in the garage for like a month. So I just turned it into a podcast studio. But yeah, I don't know. I can't remember if we met last year at monitor or not, Chris. But it's nice to see him. My pleasure. I'm jealous. I was chasing tail. Look at him. He was being chased. Yeah, I also had less of this back then. Yeah, less than what? Your camera's not working. Barry's the only one that's I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Barry's the only one that's shaving here. No, no, that's actually him growing. That's why I've shaved because that's what it looks like. There's about a two week period where it's not attractive. So so you talk you talked about like starting to rebook acts and it mostly being in Q1. But is there a possibility that you see something happening in the fourth quarter starting September or October? Any chance whatsoever? God, I hope so. I mean, sure, there's a chance, you know. There's a chance. I'm certainly no expert. Experts don't even seem to know. Wife and I took a country cruise yesterday and found like an abandoned park and popped out and had a picnic and you know, I couldn't help but sit there and think to myself, man, those folks who were saying this is going to go away when it gets warm. God, you know, even if it comes back, man, part of me really hopes that they're right. Just feeling normal for a little bit and getting out and about was was so great. So you know, I don't know, man. I need a break through, right? Let me make it a little bit more pointed. Do you have people who are even willing to to call and inquire about? That's me this time. Let's just play there. That's the weather radio. Yeah. Apparently there's a thunderstorm warning somewhere in Tennessee. Do you have anyone calling and willing to book something in September or October? Yeah, the industry is pretty much still holding the line on Labor Day. OK, all the you know, all the all the summer festivals for the most part, all the ones I'm aware of have been pushed to either Labor Day or later, where, you know, if you go, if you find a calendar this year now, they're. What you got, Taco? Apparently I'm the only one with nothing. No background noise. I swear to God, if a PBR explodes in this truck, don't say that. I tried to get one as quietly as I could. I'm sorry. There's a chance. There's a chance where, you know, the festivals are holding on to Labor Day and later, all the October stuff that was scheduled, all the things that got moved into October. A lot of those are still a go today, you know, hopefully. So we're the industry is trying to have. That really surprises me because there has not been a conversation I've had anyone that tells me anything before November 1st. And I just I can't and what I've been trying to stress on this conversation with Barry the last few weeks is there's just I can't imagine a world where we get to September or September 10th and there is a festival or a series of festivals happening in a few weeks and September 10th hits and all of a sudden there's one hundred and ten cases in the country or one hundred and fifty cases. And then all of a sudden guys like you are caught in this thing like, oh my God, do I do what we do? Because any we've seen have this played out before. A hundred turns into a thousand, a thousand turns into ten thousand. What do we do now when we're looking at two weeks from now we have a festival happening in ten days we have the biggest show of our of our year, essentially. I don't know. I don't know what happened. No, don't get me. Don't get me wrong. I don't think it's happening. But and and a lot of it has to do with revenue projections for the for the big monster companies. Once once that stuff's officially gone, they have to take it off their books. And that's not going to be good for stock value. So, you know, so a lot of it is just that game. But my very we talked about this. The last thing I want to do is is is have a false start, so to speak, and crank the engine back up and get back to work and then have to shut it back down. As much as the current situation is really bad for independent operators, small business owners, local restaurants, tea shops, everybody else. If we have to go if we go in and crank it all back up and rehire and invest all that money into new inventory and everything else and then we have to shut it down again eight weeks later. Ah, man, that's scary. A lot of them won't get out. Yeah, not not only is there is there economic ramifications, but I'll damn near say that the mental anguish that that will cause will throw this country into an absolute war. I mean, you've got you've got lunatics running up into city halls with guns trying to protest their ability to get out and get their roots died. You know, if those are patriots. Yes, they are. And although I do understand what you're saying about I wish that for a few months this could just go away and be normal. I actually worry that that's going to cause more of a problem. You know, if we get a taste if we get a taste of normalcy and then we have to go back into what we've just been gone gone through the last two and a half months, three months. This is this is going to cause riots. We can only control the controllables, right. And if it goes away, then then, you know, everyone's actions will change. I agree with you completely. There's very much a part of me that that I like I said, I don't want to reopen exit in until there's a vaccine, honestly, or some kind of other medical breakthrough that makes sure that this thing is gone. You know, go to the park and have a picnic and then tell me about how much some little part of you would say, OK, if we could get a two month reprise on this thing and then we had to go back to it, at least parts of my life would be better. We live next to the Bayou, Bayou St. John in New Orleans, and I walk there every day. And it happens every so often that a girl on a pedicab will be cycling around the bayou and in the back of the pedicab, she'll be playing a track with a fiddle and a guitar. It's a one man band and she's unbelievable. And like there was a day where we literally just walked around and followed them for about an hour and a half. It was this. Oh my God. It was as good of a day as we've had in two months. But yeah, that that sense of normalcy, it's it's Chris, one of the things I'm curious about and trying to envision is and nobody knows the answers to a lot of these things. But how do you see it reopening? I mean, we've talked about this because it's what we focus on is festivals and how what a big moneymaker they are and that the industry sort of is. And I think Brad, I think you said the industry right now would like to see the artists available to do the festivals, right? Because they're such big moneymakers. But do you see it going that way, Chris? Do you see the small guy, the independents like you having a few shows testing the waters? How does it open? And I'm thinking in particular, I thought Brad, a couple of shows ago, the whole the windows closing thing is a great analogy. But not only is it closing, but there are more and more and more and more people trying to get through it. You know what I mean? So it's that bottleneck. So I'm not sure if that's a very clear question. But how do you in your head, do you have a vision of how it sort of reopens, whether it's November or January? Yeah, I agree with Brad. I think most I think most of the year is going to get scrapped ultimately. And I'm not sure how that happens. But I think that's I don't know what steps lead us to scrapping the rest of the year. But I think that's what ultimately happens. And the first ones to get back would be the small guys, because as regulations are developed for how to do it, which is one of the things that NIVA has asked the federal government to be a part of, to actually lead the conversation of national guidelines for reopening. And Barry, I can't remember, we might have talked about that a little bit, because of the way touring works, we can't have different rules in different states and different cities. It'll bind an artist's ability to tour across the country and make a living. It'll bind that down. So we've got to have some standardization as much as we can. And of course, this virus has to go away a lot more before we can get there. But the small clubs, the ones that make it through are going to be able to bounce back pretty quick, quicker than the big stuff, because you're going to be able to put 250 people in a room before you're going to be able to put 25,000 people in a room for sure. And our content pipeline is a lot more easily accessible. So exit in, we've got a ton of amazing artists here in Nashville, local artists who could jump in and play the club. It's impossible to rebook the arena that quickly. I talked to an artist that is one of these mid-tier, if you were thinking about festival posters, they're like a mid-tier festival poster artist. And they said that where they're scared is for bands in there on their level, because every single artist is going to try and have a show next year. They have to. They've got to make up some revenue. And you've got, let's say, you've got Chris Cobb and exit in, and you can put St. Paul and the Broken Bones and exit in, because they need to fill a date. And then tomorrow night, you've got the revivalists. And the next night, you've got this. And the next night, you've got that. At some point, the public runs out of money. So like Barry was saying, so many artists are going to try and flood the market. But can the market sustain literally everyone going on tour next year? No, absolutely not. It can't. I mean, that's part of the long road to recovery. I can't say that enough. It's going to take live events a long time to get back to the way we remember them for all the reasons we talked about before, all the reasons you're mentioning now. It's all going to combine into a really difficult situation. Also let's throw into all of your variables here. What if there's half as many venues for them to play? Man, I didn't think about that window. I mean, I didn't think about the economic toll taking so many venues out. Yeah, well, we're already starting to see closures. We're already starting to pop up, we're not going to reopen. It's been a good run, but this is it. In all sorts of businesses. But I saw two or three venues this week announce that they're just not going to come back. Because if you are, again, margins are tight, it's hard. Any business that was on the brink before this thing came through, they're probably not going to make it. Well, we do wish you the best and all of your independent people. By the way, if you have a link or a website or anything that we can go check out, we can pass it along. I hope that we can help in any way we can. Thank you. Yeah, man. Yeah. Chris, anything you didn't ask? Anything, especially with NEVA, anything upcoming that people need to know or you wanted to mention? I would say that I'm sure we won't see you at Bonnaroo this year, because that's just been your history. But this year, I know we won't be seeing you at Bonnaroo. So there's no Bonnaroo. I just can't think of any possible way that works. And basically, the conversation with you pretty much seals the deal for me. Well, by the way, as a patron of Bonnaroo or a patron or an owner of a venue, would you feel comfortable going to the farm in September? I don't know about September, but there's not right now. No way. We're not going anywhere, man. Without a vaccine, I think it's going to be pretty impossible for you to get anybody out of the house short of having a Toby, Keith and Kid Rock concert. Yeah, invest in any mask company you can right now, A. And B, dude, it was like, you know, I mean, it took me 30 minutes to get ready to go to the grocery to buy coffee last night so that I could talk to you guys this morning. The gloves, the mask, the hand sanitizer, like, man, bro, like you can't do that on the farm. If you need to send us a bill, you can make the, you can send it to Lord Taco, Chattanooga, Tennessee. I don't know. I have to admit to being, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but we went to the flower shop here, a nursery yesterday. My God, you would have thought it was Mother's Day and nothing had ever happened. We did the exact same thing. And it was in and out for us. But you know, I'm looking around and like, where's, you know, where's the anyway. Like I said, I was embarrassed, but we did it. We have flowers. I understand. All right. Well, actually picked up flowers at the grocery too. So it's okay. Enjoy, enjoy your palace of solitude and we'll talk to you very soon. Chris, thanks for joining us. Thanks so much, man. It's my pleasure. I've got, I've got written down T. We didn't get to talk about T, which I like to talk about. I've got it down. Yeah. Drive, drive in concerts. We didn't get to that. Okay. I'll talk to you about driving concerts. It's the stupidest shit I've ever seen in my life. The dumbest rave in my car sounds like, which by the way, I've never been to a rave. Do you know what they do to their bodies in a rave? You want a bit, you want a group of people leaving that venue in their Toyota to sell a hopped up or whatever. Has to be done. That's out of your mind. That is the dumbest thing I have ever seen in my life. That's all I got. There it is. How do you really feel? When you said you wanted to talk about it, obviously what you meant was you wanted to hear me talk about it. Yeah. You wanted what you wanted what Brad thought. Yeah. You were talking, you wanted to talk about herbs. So my wife's best friend in the world, her tea shop here in Nashville got totally wiped out. So that's, so that tea shop, what's the name of that tea shop in Nashville? High garden. High garden. High garden was the inspiration that the wife had to open her tea shop. Yeah. And high garden is an amazingly beautiful space, ran by really, really great people. It was. And now it's gone. Yeah. Now it's gone. And Nashville lost a huge part of that community. Boy, East Nashville, a load of stuff in East Nashville that really, really was part of that heartbeat was just erased in the tornadoes. It's a hard one to punch up here. What's the name of your shop? Wildflower Tea Shop in Apothecary. Yeah. Yeah. What's the website? wildflowertea.com? wildflowertea.com. There you go. Right across from the Choo Choo. Yeah, right across from the Choo Choo. Beautiful place. Yeah. She's done, she's done really well. And it's, it's the most Instagrammable place in the entire Tennessee Valley is my, is my calling, is my salesmanship on it. That's all I got for you. So you really need a cute, Grammable moment, which I know that you're obsessed with doing it for the Gram. That's fine. That's your spot. So High Garden, you know, they've moved into, into online orders, mail order, and are doing really, really well. You know, they had, they had, ahead of this, they had gone and moved their commercial kitchen to their private residence. So they, they built a structure out back with a commercial kitchen and got the permits all moved over there, which is extremely, extremely fortunate. So they've been able to really pivot quickly and are thriving in the online marketplace right now, even with the store gone. So that's good to hear. Throw that in there. It does suck horribly that East Nashville will never be the same. You know, we saw this with the floods, like so much of, like you said, the heartbeat of these communities gets wiped out when you go through these things like natural disasters and whatever else. But a positive story for, for High Garden that they're still able to get the tea, the product out there that so many people want. That's great to hear. I know I'm like, shitting us way over here, but I was going to say we should do this again and we can talk about tea and we can talk about drive-ins, but I won't read it by myself. That's rude. I know better. Well, you can, you can join her on her tea podcast. It's called The Brew. Which teas this year that drink. So very, very well renowned podcast. I think you've overstayed your welcome, Brad. Yeah, I think so. Getting tired. Thanks Chris. It's all thanks so much. It doesn't feel good to hear it out loud from somebody who is in it, but that conversation with Chris was a more expanded version of pretty much every conversation I've had for the last six weeks. That's why I wanted to have him on. I mean, you've been, you have been saying this since the beginning. I've been hearing similar, not quite from the same level of people that you have, but he and I had that conversation a couple of weeks ago for a story and I thought he would be, I thought he would be informative and he was. He's great. He's really great. And we give Chris a hard time and we should have told the backstory, but Chris showed up at camp. None of us knew him. But we were forced to create a giant cartoon head on a stick for him. Everybody at camp at Camp Nut Butter has a giant cartoon head on the stick. We also have a giant lit cartoon marquee that you walk through as well as our 600, 700 square feet of carpeting, Lord Tacos, Volkswagen bus. But at the time, this is like 12 years ago now. By the way, I was thinking how old are the heads, the giant cartoon heads on the stick? That's a great question. I don't know. I know I started going in 07. I probably didn't meet, start really seeing you guys until 12. Yeah. Yeah. So our camp was started in 2009 with the people that the four or five of us had started it. And then the heads came around 2012 and we were told to by Mike Dewar to make a head for Chris Cobb. So we did. Me and my buddy Nick, we did and we didn't know him. So we show up, we put his put his head in the ground. He shows up and he whips up some eggs and then he leaves the next day. We're like, well, okay, he was here for 24 hours. That's fine. We'll talk to him next year. Take your head. He forgets his head, which was strike one. So we took his head and we threw it in the trash because we were not going to carry it back and forth with him. And I think that from there, he just got mad. He never came back, never came back until last year. He must've heard about the head getting thrown away. Seven years, seven years he waited to come back to camp. And finally, I think it's fascinating that he was there last year and the only one not there was Dewar because even Joe Winland, he's got a head. He was there last year for two seconds. Very tough. So anyway, that's all right. It's by the way, it's a strange camp thing that we that we do. Do you have a want to share your strangest camp thing that you bring? The strangest thing you pack? The strangest? Yeah. What the oddest thing that that would make somebody go, huh? Because I was thinking about it this morning. I was like, man, where's that full length mirror that I bring to Bonnaroo? I literally bring a full length mirror to Bonnaroo because I got to make sure the whole package is ready to go to go out during the day. I can't think of anything that would be strong. I know I overpack. I know every year I think all I need are good shoes, you know, cooler air mattresses. And then my truck is packed mostly because I'm bringing stuff for you. I haven't yet to figure out how that works. I get the panic call the day before. Yeah. The funniest, the funniest one I remember was. You just start bringing a U-Haul every year. Well, the funniest one I remember was meeting you and Hillary at your house to Caravan and she wanted to bring her hula hoop and you didn't have space for it. Well, last year I brought the I brought the couch and the generator in the bus and that weighed me down pretty well that going over Mount Eagle Mountain, it was pretty slow, pretty slow on the bus. Yeah. And it was so bad for Taco, he had to ditch a person. Tell somebody out. You got to get out. You got choices. Yeah. I only got so much room. We need the couch. I'm choosing the couch and generator over a human being. That's why you were chasing tail all weekend. I didn't have anything to bring. There you go. What podcast? We'll talk to you next week, hopefully with something. We'll see. Yeah. Talk to you then. Bye. See you guys. Hey, hey, hey. How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artist playing bongaroo. Who are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year? That Matter. Yay. With Brad Steiner and Barry Courter. Stay tuned for if you can't explain the Clair gentleface, See You Next Again.