Most fans of Tupelo Music Hall, currently located in Londonderry, New Hampshire, are aware that Tupelo is relocating to another building in neighboring Derry. The change is presumed to happen before the end of this year.
The music venue is moving to a 20,000 square foot building across from a Sports Zone on A Street. There are numerous concerns that are not being addressed, or even questioned.
Secluded, there are, according to the Derry Police Department, a lot of police calls there for cars being broken into. So, guess what is going to happen to patrons’ cars while they’re inside listening?
It could end up costing $2,100 to see a show at Tupelo Music Hall after it moves to Derry, a hundred bucks for a pair of tickets and two thousand dollars in damage to a patron’s car.
One can only imagine the inconvenience to a music fan who drove an hour or more to Derry from another state when he finds his car won’t work due to a busted ignition.
How will the Tupelo owner and managers insure the safety of patrons’ vehicles while music fans are listening to bands on the inside? What if a patron steps out of the building to retrieve something from his or her car only to stumble upon someone breaking into a vehicle? Criminals don’t like to get caught, and they’re very tough.
One must also wonder about visibility from the back of the room to the stage The new building, which resembles an ugly manufacturing plant, stands only one story high and will have 475 seats spread over the 20,000 square foot facility.
It is unlikely that patrons will continue buying $40 tickets to see acts that might not be very visible from the last row. The sound quality will likely not match the acoustics in the Londonderry location. The building in Londonderry was constructed by the previous owners, Kent and Meredith Allen, with acoustics in mind, as they ran it as folk listening room. The new building was constructed as a physical fitness facility. It has many hard surfaces inside and its ceiling will not likely be as high as the Londonderry ceiling, which was built that way so sound can travel to the back of the room.
There is something about this move that doesn’t add up. It seemed to move through the Planning Board rather quickly. Tupelo owner Scott Hayward is a native son, a local boy who made good locally. The Derry Planning Board may have engaged in wishful thinking.
Prediction: Hayward will make money off the sale of the building and property in Londonderry soon after the move. It’s likely that the new building/music venue will also be sold, flipped, sold to another buyer soon after alterations have been made and the new location has been active for several months. It is hard to imagine it succeeding as a business, and this might be Hayward’s way of retiring young with a huge cash out.
It isn’t surprising that nobody is taking a closer look at the Tupelo relocation. Local newspapers in New Hampshire don’t have a lot of experience covering the music industry from behind the scenes. Aside from a few puff pieces regarding the change in location, there isn’t much in depth reporting about the move. Daily newspapers in New Hampshire all have weekly entertainment pullout sections that are edited and laid out by editors, often very young, who know more about filling in page space than they do about the arts, music, and general entertainment their sections promote. Those glorified copydesk editors don’t notice much about the industry.
Until Mr. Hayward explains how he’s going to handle security and match the acoustic and visibility qualities of the Londonderry facility, he will leave puzzling, unanswered questions hanging over the entire situation. He will also leave patrons wondering if they will get their money’s worth out of a Tupelo experience.