When The Smell was given notice to close for demolition, news spread like wildfire and galvanized Southland's music comunity into action. Organizer/musician Gregory Cole (Crescendo) scrapped plans for his summer DreamGaze Festival and concentrated efforts to raise funds for the legendary venue. But he was not alone in that endeavor—Cole reached out to two active veterans for help: Top Acid's Chris Gonzalez and guitarist/singer Sophie Negrini (Janelane).
"Gregory messaged me out-of-the-blue because he had read a post of mine [where] I wrote about how much The Smell meant to myself and the rest of the community when the building first received its demolition notice," Negrini recalls. Even though the three ran in different scenes, the DIY venue's monumental influence brought them together.
With owner Jim Smith's blessing and months of planning and outreach, over 30 bands joined with hundreds of fans on August 6th in a converted warehouse space near the San Antonio Winery. The three were rarely in sight—always running from stage to stage, prepping backlines, moving equipment, and keeping the cross streets free of pedestrian traffic and litter. Crowds moshed and nodded in solidarity. Despite minor issues with sound and schedule (it's never picture-perfect when you're DIY), the festival came up with over $15,000 raised.
"This is the teamwork & togetherness that saves The Smell. I have no doubt in our community's ability to achieve [The Smell's] permanence of address for generations of music lovers of all ages," says Cole in retrospect.
Gonzalez was even impressed by the results. "I think that’s just a huge indicator and a true testament to how much respect everyone has for Jim and the sober scene he’s created at The Smell."
Check out our photo recap of Save The Smell Fest on our Instagram @TheDeliLA. - photo by Rachel Collins