The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday March 24th

With Jack Sprat closure, artists lose performance venue

The closing of Jack Sprat Cafe on Oct. 8 was not only the end of a restaurant, but the closing of a popular performance space for many student groups.

Kyle Heath, former co-owner of Jack Sprat, said the cafe tried to provide at least two or three events a week with a variety of performances such as spoken word, comedy, open mic and local music.

“We just kept booking — when any kind of band would come to us, we would give them an opportunity to play,” Heath said.

“It was a good spot to get started.”

Richie Walter of the UNC Walk-Ons said his a cappella group was scheduled to perform in an Uhuru Child benefit Friday and a Save the Horn benefit in November.

“We’re gonna miss performing because we love every opportunity to perform, so it sucks that one of the spaces is gone,” he said.

Brandon Richard, who works for Uhuru Child, said finding a replacement venue has been difficult since many venues already have events or have never hosted a benefit before.

He said Uhuru Child has contacted 15 to 20 different businesses on Franklin Street and is currently talking with Kildare’s Irish Pub and Linda’s Bar and Grill as potential venues.

“Right now, since it’s such last minute, it’s really any place that will have us,” Richard said.

Heath said he is not sure which Franklin Street business will replace Jack Sprat as a performance space, because many have already established their entertainment specialty.

“I’m sure someone’s going to do it,” Heath said.

“Where there’s a demand, there’s going to be a place for it to happen.”

Richard said some venues he contacted wanted to charge as much as $100 an hour.

Richard said he thinks this is an opportunity for many businesses to become more accommodating to student groups.

“It’s really a win-win situation for student groups and bars to help get their name out there,” he said.

Walter said he has friends in bands who performed at Jack Sprat and loved how the venue gave anyone an opportunity to play.

“It was pretty easy to do, and it was a prime location on Franklin Street,” Walter said.

Richard said Jack Sprat’s audio equipment, stage area and calm atmosphere made it an ideal venue.

“The management was really helpful and they enjoy doing this type of thing,” Richard said.

“They just have experience doing this for student groups, and they do this to really give back.”

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