The Prism Shuts Down

After forty years, The Prism shut down last night, The Hook reports on their blog. The venue had planned a move to Gordonsville, but The Hook reports in this week’s issue that the plans had apparently fallen through. In an angry letter, Fred Boyce explains the shut down, describes his plans to “concentrate upon organizing and editing the extensive archive of live concert recordings we have made here since 1992,” and blames The Hook (who wrote about trouble at the Prism in 2004), Westminster Presbyterian Church (who owns their building) and WNRN (by allusion, for not mentioning Prism concerts) for the venue’s demise.

I enjoyed many a concert at The Prism. It’s a shame to see it go down like this.

4 thoughts on “The Prism Shuts Down”

  1. Time’s a-wasting for anybody that wants to help West. Presb. set up a new music venue in the old Prism building. Just keep the do-it-yoursel snack breaks! From the last article I read, it looks like they would want to keep it as a music or cultural place. The old crew (Boyce & Co.) just weren’t willing to pay more than $350 in rent! I think that’s the right number. Utilities included!

  2. Ol’ Fred might want to check his performance contracts to make sure he’s not inching toward legal action by even hinting at making live recordings available. Bill Graham was able to add a clause to his contrtacts making it possible for him to record the shows he produced (now being streamed by the gloriouis, phenomenal, treasure trove of live music at Wolfgang’s Vault, but the Prism didn’t quite have that kind of influence on performers (not to mention their record companies). I’d be surprised if the Prism or its management has the right to distribute recordings of performances in any form – and I’d be surprised if they even had the right to record them.

  3. I am really very deeply saddened by this ending – I grew up walking past the prism in the early 70s, not very long after it’s inception – I will sorely miss the presence of this landmark. I hope that the disgruntled folks can re-group and set up a renamed venue there. I’m certainly ready to put time and money into such a move.

    I appreciate Fred’s great efforts, and perhaps the personality is part and parcel of that. I think the high water mark was likely the period of live broadcasts on WTJU – what a perfect pairing of two wonderful local cultural institutions. Unfortunately, that, as the arrangement with Westminster Presbyterian, fell victim to Fred’s excesses as well. It looks like his ambition outstripped the organization – and I think the loyalty of ticket-buyers was to the organization, not the organizer. I know, as someone who went to the Prism regularly before Fred Boyce had even alighted in c’ville, that I wasn’t going to be following it up to Gordonsville.

    One wonders how well planned the move and new business plan were. Certainly the real continuing draw of the prism is the house-like intimacy and atmosphere – there are other venues in C’ville, with the size to make the numbers ($$) right for the type of performers the Prism hosted – or wanted to host – without the need to trek up to Gordonsville. I guess the same can be said of what Big_Al notes about the recordings. I have my bootlegs for my own listening pleasure – there were a few more I’d have picked up this season if I’d known it was going to end this way. The secretiveness extended to the general listening audience.

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