BY ALISE CHAFFINS
The standard twenty fifth anniversary reward is silver, however at 123 Nice Road in downtown Morgantown, it’s rock.
Or punk. Or people. Or simply about any type of music you possibly can think about.
This weekend, the reside music venue celebrates its twenty fifth anniversary with a lineup of music for almost each style.
Initially constructed as homes, the buildings on Nice Road turned prime areas for companies throughout the Nineteen Twenties. Numerous shops got here and went over the following 60 years, till 1982 when the Underground Railroad opened up, bringing reside music to downtown Morgantown.
Mixed with WVU’s radio station U92, the choice music scene started to thrive with native artists having a spot to carry out.
Within the early Nineties, it was renamed as The Nyabinghi Dance Corridor. Whereas it was nonetheless an important place to see native and touring musicians, the constructing started exhibiting its age, with quite a few issues making it structurally unsafe, resulting in it being condemned in February 1998.
However Morgantown native LJ Giuliani bought the constructing in June 1998, and commenced the method of repairing and restoring it. With the assistance of others who have been concerned with each the URR and the Nyabinghi, the venue was in a position to reopen in October 1998, below the brand new, easy identify, 123 Nice Road.
Giuliani mentioned, “I used to be most likely on the proper place on the proper time. A number of my associates have been patrons or musicians, and it was very a lot a house for a subset of our neighborhood. So for me, it was essential to carry onto that dynamic and do what we may to honor that ethos and construct on it.
“We wished to be an inclusive place, a spot that will enable creativity, whether or not on stage or by way of different mediums.”
123 Nice Road has served not solely as a spot to see nice music, but in addition as a spot to assist the neighborhood. It has provided the area for advantages for individuals to lift cash for native nonprofits that profit others in Morgantown and surrounding areas.
Through the pandemic, 123 allowed native musicians to carry out on-line concert events to assist elevate funds throughout a time when nobody may take part in reside music. As venues started to open up, 123 provided its rooftop as an area the place artists may carry out to assist maintain individuals protected. This generosity is among the issues that makes it a beloved area for native musicians and nationwide touring acts alike.
“Our capacity to outlive COVID speaks extra to our neighborhood than anything. That’s a part of the significance of 123. I inform those who 123 is only a collection of partitions and an area. It’s the patrons and the neighborhood that make it what it’s,” Giuliani mentioned.
To have fun the twenty fifth anniversary of 123 Nice Road, there’s a busy lineup of native and regional bands by way of the weekend. Giuliani wished to focus on musicians who’ve performed within the area again earlier than it was 123, in addition to some newcomers to the venue. Musicians like Todd Burge, Owen Davis and James Marinelli have been enjoying at 123 for years and can be current to have fun the twenty fifth anniversary.
The weekend will shut out with a Mountain Stage After Jam. With Mountain Stage celebrating its fortieth anniversary this 12 months, it felt like an effective way to acknowledge the best way that the 2 have been part of one another’s tales.
“I can’t say if I’ll do that for one more 25 years, however the essential factor for me is that we simply proceed to be a spot the place individuals can collect, individuals can create, and on the similar time the place we wish to ship a message. Whether or not it’s a rainbow on a wall or what’s taking place inside, we wish to talk that 123 is a spot that folks can really feel at house being who they’re so long as they stroll by way of the door with respect for others.”
You will discover extra data and buy tickets for this weekend’s occasions at 123PleasantStreet.com.