One of Nashville’s most iconic independent music venues has been listed for sale, putting the future of Exit/In in jeopardy as the club celebrates its 50th anniversary.
First reported by Tennessee Lookout on February, 15 the famous property is now up for sale after an agonizing struggle for survival through the COVID-19 pandemic … but it sounds like the club’s owners have a plan to save it. Exit/In owners Chris and Telisha Cobb say they’ve partnered with real estate investment firm Grubb Properties with the goal of buying the property themselves, and they’re hoping to use a new Live Venue Recovery Fund launched by the company.
“We’re thrilled to be working with Grubb Properties Live Venue Recovery Fund and have the opportunity to own our buildings,” the Exit/In Twitter feed says. “Operator ownership is critical to the long-term health of the independent venue ecosystem.”
Like live-music venues all around the nation, the Exit/In has been closed since early 2020, with almost no way to bring in revenue. Run independently on a shoe-string budget in normal times, fans have feared the worse for the famous stage from the beginning, but Cobb and other venue operators banded together to lobby government for help. They formed the National Independent Venue Association and succeeded in getting the Save Our Stages Act passed into federal law in December — part of the second pandemic relief bill — and Nashville’s local government has also earmarked CARES Act money for shuttered venues.
Cobb hopes those efforts — and the sale of the building — will be enough to get Exit/In by until live audiences can return, and music fans once again pack the 500-person capacity venue. A vibrant part of the “Music City” legend, Exit/In is a lynch pin in Nashville’s beloved “Rock Block,” which is an area of small shops just outside downtown recognized with a historical marker in 2019. Over the years, it became famous for hosting early shows by the likes of R.E.M., Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more, and more recently has hosted secret shows and album-launch events for the likes of Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs and Keith Urban.