Future Trunk Space location uncertain except in the hearts of fans

The Trunk Space is an all-ages, volunteer-run music venue that has stood on Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix since 2004. During the past 12 years, much of the happenings in the Phoenix music scene have involved the small yet popular locale. Ever since the Trunk Space announced it was closing its doors, loyal patrons and volunteers have been speculating about whether it will reopen and where it will make its new home.

The answers to these queries are equally murky, because the owners don't even know what the future of Trunk Space holds.

Where and when the venue will reopen is still unknown, co-owner Steph Carrico said. She said she hopes to find a space that can accommodate more patrons and have long-term sustainability. 

"I am hopeful the new space will be about the same size, or maybe a tad bit larger, and that we can be part of a community that is welcoming and excited to have us," she said.

In the meantime, the Trunk Space will exist in theory and function more as an organization, holding pop-up shows throughout the Valley after the venue closes, Carrico said. 

Long-time volunteer Mullarkey said the move is “for the best,” and said the owners plan to restructure the Trunk Space as a non-profit, because operating the venue for-profit with rising rent has been a struggle.

“We don’t always get the physical support we need,” he said. “People love the Trunk Space, but they don’t come here as much as they should. The only way places like this exist is if people support it.”

Dear friends,After 12 amazing years at the 1506 NW Grand Avenue location Trunk Space is doing some restructuring and...

Posted by The Trunk Space on Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dwois Don Brown, a frequent patron of the venue, said many music fans are “reluctant” to see the Trunk Space move. He acknowledged there could be benefits to a new building, especially at a more central location.

“Classically, it’s been ‘the place,’" he said. “But there’s a lot more good that can come out of it acoustic-wise with a better venue and a better placement."

Brown said ideally a location close to the light rail would be more convenient to Trunk Space’s diverse crowd.

“Usually Trunk Space’s crowd is younger,” he said. “They could take the light rail and still get home, or if people are drinking, they could take care of those people instead of putting them on the street. A lot of things could work out.”

Jill Frendsky said she was “heartbroken and excited" about the venue’s relocation. Frendsky, who serves as keyboardist and back-up vocalist for Phoenix-based pop-rock band Diners, said although many fond memories were formed at the Grand Avenue location, there is certainly room for improvement.

“This is the place I went to in high school and growing up,” she said. “There’s so much of history and so many of my heroes have played here.”

Of the many in-state and out-of-state acts that have graced the stage, Frendsky said she most fondly remembers artists such as Katy Davidson (formerly of Dear Nora) and the Portland-based folk band Foot Ox, who will return for Trunk Space's 12th anniversary show on April 23.

Frendsky said the rent spike on Grand Avenue was “unfortunate” and reflects what is happening in the rest of the Valley.

“(The Trunk Space) is a solely volunteer-run place that is getting pushed out because the rent’s raised,” she said. “I see it happening to all of Phoenix and it’s just as heartbreaking every time, but this hit home because I feel like I was raised here."

However, Frendsky said she believes the Trunk Space will endure despite the relocation, as long as the venue’s “anything goes” mentality remains.

“The power of the space is in the people,” she said. “It’s not something they couldn’t recreate somewhere else. If anyone is willing to put together a respectful show, they should have the opportunity and a platform to perform. This is the place to do it.”

Related links:

Post-rock bands revive instrumental talent at Trunk Space

Folk-punk rocker Andy Warpigs highlights Phoenix's evolving music scene

Reach the reporter at idickins@asu.edu or follow @sailormouthed92 on Twitter.

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