By Eric Renner Brown
The pandemic presented an unprecedented challenge for independent venues. Establishments across the country fought to stay in business with little-to-no government aid and a year-plus without concerts. Unable to pay the bills, many folded, and famed Nashville club Exit/In was on the precipice of a similar fate earlier this year, when a developer began arranging to buy the building on Music City’s “Rock Block” that houses the venue. Exit/In operator Chris Cobb launched a campaign to save the venue — including the “Nashville Helping Nashville” benefit concert, which raised $27,500, and a GoFundMe that cracked $271,000 — and extracted a commitment from AJ Capital Partners, which ultimately bought the property, to preserve the 50-year-old club and add it to the National Register of Historic Places. With a lease ending in 2022, Exit/In’s future remains uncertain and Cobb, backed by investment firm Grubb Properties and its Live Venue Recovery Fund, is seeking to buy the club outright.