BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A grass-roots music venue that was forced to shut down nearly a year ago will reopen on Saturday, May 12 for a fundraising concert needed to get the place buzzing again.
“I didn’t expect so many bands to want to participate, but they all were excited about it,” said John Burns, co-owner of The Dyson House Listening Room. “Other musicians wanted to participate, but we had too much music. I’m lucky that so many musicians love the space and concept.”
The plug was pulled at The Dyson House Listening Room during the summer of 2017, which was about a little over a year after the non-profit venue opened for business.
Many know the location by its former business, the Mail Bag. When that business moved to a new location, Burns jumped on the opportunity to take over the space.
The venue was lovingly named after The Dyson family, who owned and lived in the house for about 50 years.
The charm of the meaning behind the name was indicative of the atmosphere the building provided to patrons and musicians.
“John Burns and Kevin Sweeney have created and fostered something special with Dyson House,” said Jonathan Tillman. “It’s where people can see an early show sitting in chairs and drink their own drinks while taking in an intimate show of some great songwriters singing their songs and telling stories.”
It’s because of this reputation that the little venue with nearly perfect reviews started packing out. That eventually caused some problems.
The house that was built in 1940 was not meant to be a concert venue. For that reason, the city stepped in and shut the place down.
A first-round fundraising campaign gained enough to make the repairs needed to bring the building up to code. In an interview with The Advocate, Burns was asked if he felt the code requirements were an unfair burden.
“I’m behind them 100 percent. I want Dyson House to be safe for everybody,” he replied. “When we only had one bathroom, we had people waiting in line. Nobody complained, but it’ll be a lot better to have two bathrooms.”
For those who fell in love with the space, bringing the venue back is worth more than its weight in repairs.
“Dyson House has become an essential Baton Rouge experience of the culture here in town,” Tillman added. “The passion and selflessness of John Burns is nothing short of inspirational.”
The Dyson House Listening Room is located at 7575 Jefferson Hwy. The ReOpen the House fundraiser will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.