‘We made it back’: A year of recovery for The Basement East

Nashville Tornado

We spoke with The Basement East owners about their struggles and triumphs over the past 365 days.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The storm clouds had not yet cleared when a beloved East Nashville music venue broadcast the message many needed to see.

“I Believe in Nashville”

Today, the Basement East has another message. We made it back.

“I’m super excited. You know, I just started getting excited. This week, after one long, long year, trials [and] tribulations, it’s so I cannot express how incredibly joyous it will be to be able to reopen,” said owner Dave Brown.

Brown and co-owner Mike Grimes have barely had time to process what happened but were compelled to lead.

“So, you’re seeing the outline of all this devastation, and then this message of hope is beacon. And that basically put us in a position where, you know, I want to carry that torch of hope,” said Grimes.

And give two guys that love this city and possess two lifetimes in music the chance to start from nearly a blank slate and they not only rebuilt, but improved everything.

Clear views of the stage everywhere, first-class musician facilities with a shower, washer and drye that will put a smile on any traveling musician’s face, and an experience for customers like few others.

All while saving favorites that survived the storm, little things that provide a living history of a live concert venue.

“It’s so important to me that the stickers survived, because those are little messages in a bottle from time from bands that have come in here and want their selves to be known. And they have survived and stayed with us. And we’ll have more hopefully over the next 10, 15, 30 years,” said Brown.

Basement East will open with a DJ, some of the best space to socially distance in East Nashville inside and out, and hope to inspire confidence. Safety has been at the forefront of every decision.

“There are people who have to put their toe in the water and go, you know what, you can come in here, be socially distanced, have a drink, run into a few friends, and then we will do some limited capacity seating shows as well and ease into our regularly scheduled program,” said Grimes.

“Well, we are going to operate with all of the safety protocols,” added Brown, “We want it to be as safe as possible.”

But eyes are on the future here, and bringing back their passion of putting musicians in front of fans and making performers dreams come true.

“Regular touring on this level may be back by this summer. That to me is like, I speaking for both of us, that to me is everything. I’m going to shed a tear,” said Grimes.

“We’ve been at this for 15 years, it’s our lives taken away twice through the tornado and through COVID. Through nothing we did ourselves,” added Brown.

See how hope has overcome heartbreak across the area. News 2 brings you special reports Tennessee Stronger: A Year of Recovery all day Wednesday in every newscast and on WKRN.com.

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