Local music venue to close after 17 years of business

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A local live music venue announces it is closing after 17 years of being in business.

The House of Rock on Water St., a staple for the Eau Claire live music scene, opened its doors in 2000. The venue announced earlier this week on their Facebook page they will be shutting down this July. But what does that mean for the local music scene?

It's one of just a few venues in Eau Claire that has had live music since the '80s.

"It's like losing a friend" is how Noel Hanson, a local musician who's been playing in the area for over 20 years, said about the House of Rock closing.

Local bands say the industry is still strong, but the venue closing will be hard to swallow for some. It's a touchy subject among a lot of local musicians Hanson says, but the House of Rock will go down as a place many musicians called home. Alex Vang, a bass player for the local band, Orenda Fugue, says it was the place to be for young, budding musicians.

"Basically, it's tragic,” Vang said. “It's a landmark place with a lot of buzz. It's the go to venue in town. The music community has been talking and everyone is upset."

Vang says the heart of the Eau Claire community is live music and that the venue closing will be a hit to the music scene.

“That’s a tough question,” Vang said about the next step for the local music community. “I’m not sure. There are other viable venues in town, but there is no other venue like the House of Rock, which is a pure venue with no other service provided but music.”

We reached out to House of Rock owner, Steven Geitz, for comment on the announcement, but have not heard back. There is no word yet on a final day for the establishment to be open or what it might become in the future.

Artists say the downtown area needs a bigger place for bands to play and they wouldn't be surprised if something new popped up sooner than people are expecting.

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