Photos by Steve Barnum / Contributing photographer
Story by Austin Jones / Contributing writer and Jarron Parker / Contributing writer
Locally owned restaurant The Block partnered with Prospective Media Management to host a benefit concert in Murfreesboro on Sunday as a last-ditch effort to save a beloved local music venue.
Located at 123 SE Broad St., the venue has hosted several shows each week since its opening in October 2015.
Despite its popularity among Murfreesboro residents and MTSU students, The Block is currently in danger of closing due to lack of funds.
“We are exploring every possible option,” said Quinten Thornton, manager of The Block. The goal was raise enough money to pay for another month of rent.
The concert ran from 7:30 until 11 p.m. and featured seven musical acts ranging from rap to R&B. The lineup was mostly made up of MTSU students, including D’Vonna Taylor, Tyke T, Chris Townsend, Jeff Owens, Dee Grand, Indasia and Evan Dupri.
The artists displayed a true sense of community by guest-performing on each other’s songs, and Rapper Tyke T announced during his set that he would be donating $2.50 toward The Block for every purchase of his CD. Thornton said, “The Block is a platform for artists and musicians to use freely, a platform where the community can come together and support one another.” After the performances, DJ Louis P kicked off an after-party that lasted until the event’s conclusion.
MTSU alum and founder of Prospective Media Management, Kim Ortiz, planned the event with staff from The Block. Prospective Media Management manages a range of local independent artists and has hosted four shows with The Block since their partnership began in March 2016. According to Ortiz, the Block is one of the only places willing to let up-and-coming artists play at their venue.
She says, “No other venue in Murfreesboro was really open to having artists that weren’t well-known.”
Performers Tyke T and Dee Grand agreed that The Block is one of few places in Murfreesboro that lets them showcase their talents.
Ortiz said she still plans to continue booking shows with Prospective Media Management even if The Block closes. However, she described the idea of Murfreesboro losing The Block as disheartening. The event raised nearly $1,000. Although no monetary goal was set for the event, The Block made a little over $300 to put toward their rent payment.
See photos from the event below.