Our friend and photographer, Damien Jones got a few pix of The Nightlight's final evening, Saturday, Jan. 26.

Club owner Matt Feigenbaum explained in a


Bellingham Loses Its Croc


Our friend and photographer, Damien Jones got a few pix of The Nightlight's final evening, Saturday, Jan. 26.

Club owner Matt Feigenbaum explained in a lengthy goodbye (after the jump) sent out to The Nightlight's mailing list, that "Money. Ultimately, not enough of it. That’s why this decision had to be made."

Seattlest makes a good point, in that Feigenbaum's note shows far more respect and appreciation for the club's community than the exit of the Croc's Stephanie Dorgan, who has yet to comment publicly on her club's closing.


Thanks to Judy for sending us this official closing announcement:

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to make this formal announcement but, as those who know me will attest, this is a very hard letter for me to write. As many of you already know, The Nightlight will be closing its doors after the final performance this Saturday, January 26. The last show features the March Fourth Marching Band from Portland, OR, and is being presented by the good folks at Boogie Universal. I can think of no better way to end The Nightlight’s 3.5 year run than with an act with a 12 piece horn section, a 10 piece drum/percussion corps, circus performers, multicultural diversity, and the soul and passion for music pulsing in their veins. I hope you will come down, raise your glass, and celebrate (in my humble opinion) one great live music venue before it fades to black.

Money. Ultimately, not enough of it. That’s why this decision had to be made. Specifically, it was the debt incurred getting The Nightlight open and operating it under financial duress every single day. We tried our damndest to clear the debt as fast as we could, in fact made tremendous progress, but it eventually got the best of us. When The Nightlight opened its doors on September 16, 2004, we didn’t have a dime of working capital to our name. In fact, a combination of construction delays, permit “issues”, my inexperience, the unknown “surprises” encountered while renovating space in a 110 year old building, even an act of costly and malicious vandalism put us so far in the hole by opening day that we couldn’t even see a pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel. Should we have found ourselves in this position? Maybe, maybe not. Should we have packed it in right then and there? Some may think so. Not me. I don’t regret one single minute of it. I would (and will) do it again.

Opening and operating a live music venue of this size and caliber, even without the financial difficulties that plagued The Nightlight since Day 1, is a huge undertaking, here or anywhere else for that matter. Much more often than not, these businesses fail in the first year. This is a very tough business. We sell art (and booze to accompany it) and selling art is always a challenge. It takes time to figure out what works and what doesn’t, to understand your market, to build a business. Bellingham itself presents a unique set of marketing challenges, which is also one of the reasons why Bellingham is such an amazing and wonderful place. Compounding all of this, I made tons of mistakes along the way and, yes, also had to deal with an extra-large helping of crap, legitimate or not. All told, I needed a good amount of money to forge ahead and I don’t have it. Barring some form of quasi-divine intervention (read: big pot of money dropping from sky), The Nightlight’s run will be ending much sooner than I and many others would have liked.

But you know what? The Nightlight accomplished some pretty amazing and extraordinary things in its all-too-brief 3.5 year existence. I am heartbroken right now, but I am also so fucking proud of The Nightlight, of what we accomplished, of what The Nightlight represents, of The Nightlight’s contribution to Bellingham’s rich and diverse musical history, and of the fact that The Nightlight (hopefully) is now part of a bigger picture, a bigger vision spearheaded by the true pioneers of Bellingham music – the 3B, the Factory, Speedy O Tubbs, Chiribins, The Green Frog, the Wild Buffalo, and the list goes on. It has truly been my honor and privilege, folks.

None of this would have been possible without the tremendous efforts of many, many people. The danger in thanking people by name is that you may will forget some people deserving of mention. If I do, I humbly apologize in advance. I will do my best. In no order of priority:

I would like to thank, from the bottom of my heart, every single customer that passed through The Nightlight’s doors. Thank you for your patronage and support. Thank you for supporting live music. I hope that you will continue to do so for as long as you shall live.

I would like to thank every single artist and performer that has graced The Nightlight’s stage and walls. Thank you for creating art. Thank you for sharing it. Thank you for leaving it all on the stage every damn night. Thank you for inspiring me and countless others.

I would like to thank every single person that helped me turn my dreams and vision into reality. Thank you Michael Parzick, Spencer Willhoft, Holly Parker, Ian Hubner, Mandala Cascade, Katie Hagerman, Shane Briggs, Rich Canut, Craig Reiman, Ackerly Shellberg, Joselynn Plank, Chris Runnells, Gavin Phill, Amber Corey, Curtis Hagg, Sam Top, Tyler Baker, Ike Eichelkraut, Ed Chatterton, Alison Norton, Mandy Nadeau, Dan Savage, Tim Herron, Anthony Spencer, Poops, LP, GNS, Paul Chandler, Andy Hillman, Nikki Martin, Nils Rye, Audrey Jones, Michael Spring, Josh Holland, Matt Costa, Johnny Sternberg, Richard Hartnell, Lucy Mae Martin, Annie Ireland, Chris Coffin, Mark Brinn, Tamara McDonald, Brianna Gates, Tawni Bell, Jordan Culver, Betsy Hartner, Amie Weisert, Jason Armstrong, Chris Fuller, Mike Cloud, Carly Henry, Michael Henry, Peter Larsen, Michael Dorf, David Stray-Ney, Jeremy Leech, Dave Colombe, Tonya Colombe, Terrill, Will Barling, Quinn Irving, Corey Clarks, James Yang, Liz Racely, Kathleen Orr, Tyler Essex, Jesse Owen.

And finally, I would like to thank the following people, places and things for their support, guidance, inspiration, passion: John & Liz, Cap Hansen’s (B-Rad, Tasha, Shainie, Katie, Sherrie, Jaime, Jen, Philly), Sergio Colon, Michelle Schutte, Dave Richards, Chris Johnson, our beloved 80s Night spindoctors Josh and Kelly, Chris Lamb, Carey Ross, Brent Cole, Michael Falter, Aaron Roeder, Joel Myrene, the good folks at Bison Bookbinding, Jordan Rain, Joel Ricci, Ivan, James Hardesty, John Goodman, Michael D’Anna, Pootie, Skerik, Kent Dickerson, the Bellingham Roller Betties, Jud Sherwood, Kenny GatesAlan Spady, Jorge, Cheri, the FFA boys, Stell, Ben, Dan, John Sampson, F*, Andy Piper, Michael Costelloe, abby norml, KUGS, Matt & Shawnte, Russ, Chris Fowler, Seth Murphy, Dream Science Circus, Boogie Universal, Jay Farrar, Black Drop Coffee, Locust, Archives, Avalon, Sonic Index, the Newstand, Casa Que Pasa, Pappy Van Winkle, Booker’s, Blanton’s, Basil Hayden, Maker’s Mark, Bulleit, Knob Creek, LB, Jason Brown, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Zorn, George Clinton, James Brown, Miles Davis, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson, J Mascis, the great City of New Orleans, the Clash, the Rolling Stones, Black Francis, Barry White, Jim Jarmusch, Sean Penn, Rick Rubin, the Wu Tang Clan, Bill Frisell, Boots Riley, Bacon, Gravy, some more Bacon, the New York Yankees, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Mike Judge, Neko, and Nico, Anthony Storr, Anthony Bourdain, every single person that rescues dogs, bacon, old ford trucks, old bmw bikes, Earshot Jazz, Joey & John, green, and vinyl.

Last, but definitely not least, I would like to thank my family and friends for their love, support, patience, trust, confidence, and tolerance after I leapt off a cliff to pursue my dream. Finally, I would like to thank Earl the Birdman of Alcatraz and Willamena who, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, still think I am the greatest thing since sliced bread.

So what happens now? I guess there are two different questions there and I don’t know the answer to either. Yet. As far as The Nightlight goes, I’m going to keep buying lottery tickets as I go through the process of selling the business. If lightning strikes, its game on. Short of that, I hope to be able to pass the torch to a new owner committed to live music in Bellingham. Time will tell.

As far as the Bellingham live music scene in general, time will also tell. I don’t subscribe to the Chicken Little “sky is falling” perspective and, despite the loss of several venues in the last few years, do not believe that the end is nigh. People have been making music since the start of time and will continue until the end of time. This will never be silenced. But there is work to be done to make sure that live music remains an integral and vital and healthy part of this community. Maybe I’m being overdramatic, but to me this is a moral imperative and I’m sticking around and will continue to work towards this goal.

But every single one of you must do the same. It is not enough to sit on a barstool, in a coffee shop, a classroom, or on a couch at home saying how things oughta be but never backing up those words, no matter how intelligent or accurate they are, with action. This is our community, we get to say what happens here, and this is our responsibility not our luxury. I’m sorry for preaching but live music is very important to me , Bellingham is home to me, and I cannot fathom this amazing community without a strong, vibrant, diverse culture. I will shut up now.

I thank you!

Matt Feigenbaum

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