Grab a tissue, Atlanta.
Mid-August will officially see the swan song of the Masquerade, the timeworn, raucous, and wonderfully scabby music complex that’s played host to legends like Nirvana, Radiohead, Outkast, Coldplay, Rage Against the Machine, Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, and countless others.
Curbed Atlanta has obtained an email in which Masquerade leaders say The Wrecking Ball ATL 2016 — scheduled for Aug. 13 and 14 — will be the venue’s "final blowout event," after which the doors will close.
But get this: Plans call for the new Westside complex to open the very next week. That’s less than two months away.
Masquerade leaders promise the new Westside digs will be "fancy" with ample parking — but that the "essence" of the Masquerade will survive the transition across town.
Here’s the text of the email, in full:
It is with bittersweet emotions that we announce today (in a somber tone with a hint of excitement) the Masquerade's exit from our historic location at 695 North Ave. NE in Atlanta, Ga. and relocation to our future home at 1421 Fairmont Ave. in the burgeoning West Midtown section of Atlanta.
The Old Fourth Ward has been our home since 1989 when we took over the historic Dupree's Excelsior Mill and converted it into one of the country's landmark destinations on the live music touring circuit. The century-old stone walls and wooden planks, along with a variety of old machinery left over from the building's industrial past, provided an atmosphere for entertainment not duplicated anywhere else.
Over that time, we have played host to most everyone who is anyone in the Rock, Alternative, Punk, Indie Rock, Metal, Industrial, Reggae, Hip Hop and EDM music scenes. Our stages have been graced by Nirvana, Fugazi, N.I.N, Bjork, Radiohead, The Dave Matthews Band, Foo Fighters, Motorhead, Ice Cube, Outkast, [Rage Against the Machine], Coldplay, Green Day, Nick Cave, My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, and countless more. The first-ever Warped Tour played in The Masquerade Music Park, as did the first Imagine Festival, the first Shaky Knees Fest, and the first Wrecking Ball ATL.
The O4W neighborhood has grown and changed quite a bit in the last quarter-of-a-century. We have been a proud part of that growth and are appreciative of the support the neighborhood has always shown us. We are also grateful for the extremely supportive treatment we have received from property developers Jay Clark of SE Capital Companies, Bob Worthington of Worthington/Hyde and John Tirrill of SWH Residential Partners. They have been great to work with throughout this process and will take great care of this special building in which we have spent so much of our lives.
Now we are going to continue our growth in a new location that is still located in the heart of Atlanta. The new Masquerade is going to be nice, and new and shiny, built from scratch. It will have upgraded bathrooms — a ton of them, and many backstage rooms that will be fancy also. The ceilings will be tall — Heaven will have a mezzanine. Yes, there will be parking.
But, for anyone concerned about losing the essence of The Masquerade, the unique aesthetic that has made us special, don't fret. The heart and soul of the Masquerade does not lie in the brick and mortar, but in the music and people. Those will be coming with us to Fairmont along with the successful Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, multi-stage format that has served us so well.
We will memorialize our departure from 695 North Ave. with one final blowout. The Wrecking Ball ATL 2016 has already received tons of national and international press as one of the most impressive, and unique festival lineups of 2016. The festival was curated to reflect The Masquerade's Punk, Alternative and Indie Rock roots, with an eye cast toward the future of the genres. We can now officially announce The Ball as our swansong, our final weekend on North Avenue.
On Aug. 13 and 14, Quicksand, L7, Dinosaur Jr and Drive Like Jehu will be joined by Kathleen Hanna and the Julie Ruin, Atlanta's own Deerhunter, hardcore legends Gorilla Biscuits, the reunited Thursday, American Football and The Promise Ring and over 60 more incredible artists. This will be the last chance to experience the location so many have grown up with, fallen in love at, brought their kids to and will remember forever.
The farewell festival's footprint will encompass the Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory stages, along with two festival stages in Old Fourth Ward Park right next door. We are excited to be partnering with many local vendors, local food trucks (vegan friendly!), and Atlanta-based businesses like Mailchimp, Southern Star Tattoos, Criminal Records and I Believe In Atlanta. Did we also mention the endless amounts of PBR?
Tickets are available for The Wrecking Ball ATL 2016 at All Ticketmaster locations and The Masquerade box office. Weekend passes and single day tickets are available. VIP tix are sold out. Please join us for this exciting weekend. Take final photos and contribute to our Memory Wall your farewell wishes to the 695.
We will take the week following Wrecking Ball to finish our transition to the new digs and be open the following weekend, Aug. 20 with no downtime whatsoever!