By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The music inside Turf Club in St. Paul has been silent for close to 500 days. But it’s re-opening Wednesday night, with a sold-out show.

Since 1945, Turf Club has hosted live performances featuring music genres from rock and roll, to hip-hop, to bluegrass. But the music went silent when the world shut down because of COVID-19. WCCO spoke Wednesday with Ashley Ryan, vice president of marketing for First Avenue, which bought Turf Club in 2013.

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“There was some damage that happened here because of the uprising and some of the unrest,” Ryan said.

The historic landmark was damaged when the uprising following the death of George Floyd made its way to University Avenue. The building was breeched, and fires were set.

“Our sprinkler system, because it was hard for any emergency services to get over to the building, there was a lot of happening obviously as we all know during that time period … [the sprinklers] ran all night and into the next morning,” Ryan said.

It was an uphill battle. Fighting to repair what was damaged and not knowing if this venue would ever see a packed house again.

(credit: CBS)

“This building in particular has really been under construction and really doubly impacted by everything,” Ryan said.

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But the music cannot be silenced. After months of repairs, and the public making strides against the virus, it’s time to welcome the music back to Turf Club.

“[Wednesday night] is our first ticketed event back in, you know, almost 500 days,” Ryan said. “It’s been a really, really long time to get here [laughs]!”

Turf Club is legendary in St. Paul and across the country.

“This is a neighborhood bar, right? You can come in and grab a beer and grab a burger and hang out. You also can see a national touring band who’s put out like the best album of the year in this room, too, so it really kind of serves a whole lot of people,” Ryan said. “The neighborhood, but also just music lovers from around the city and around the country can go here,” Ryan said.

This 350-max venue is set to rock again for those longing for live, independent music.

“When you come in, you know, just find a pocket or a space that feels comfortable for you,” Ryan said. “We’re ready for this.”

Electric 6 graces the stage Wednesday night, and Dessa performs Thursday and Friday nights.

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Look for lots of local artists playing this summer, and touring bands in the fall.

Reg Chapman