TURNTABLE SPINS NO MORE
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Jamestown lost one of its own last week, and it’s with a heavy heart that we report Turntable has closed its doors as of Jan. 1.
Turntable opened two years ago in The Frazier House located at 209 W. Main S treet. The house has been in owner Jonathan Spencer’s family since the 1930s, so the location made sense for the vision that Jonathan and his wife Renee had for a venue.
“Our venue was unique, being an old family farm house, and therefore took on the form of a house concert-like venue. We had an indoor listening room that would hold 35 people and outdoor space that could hold over 100,” Renee said via email.
Inside the doors of Turntable, the Spencer’s turned an old farmhouse into a full-on venue, sometimes even turning one of the bathrooms into a stage.
Renee remembers one moment in particular from the past two years that she said will always stick out to her as “heartfelt, and showcased how music can bring people together.” It was the oneyear anniversary and the couple had organized 14 bands to play at the venue. “My husband would sometimes organize something we called “bathroom sessions” in our ginormous bathroom (what can I say, we are quirky and it was a good sounding room.) Toward the end of the night everybody piled into the bathroom and sang to me my favorite song of all time, ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John.”
Renee also mentioned the magic that she witnessed in the home venue.
“My other favorite thing about Turntable was being able to witness how it affected other people’s lives in a positive light,” she recalled. “For two years we witnessed growth amongst musicians, networking, friendships created, and bands formed. Relationships and music were formed and will continue beyond this place.”
The Spencer’s moved to North Carolina from the Washington, D.C. metro area shortly after getting married in 2011. Their goal upon moving here was to fulfill their dream and follow through with their passion for music by opening a venue. Given that Jonathan’s family owned The Frazier House, it made sense to do it there. “It [seemed] like a great opportunity to try out our idea of showcasing all original music and giving a home to those artist to be heard.”
Indeed it did, and for two years, the Spencer’s hosted hundreds, if not thousands, of acts on various stages indoor and out.
And Renee doesn’t see the closing as a failure as much as an opportunity to start anew.
“I believe we succeeded in many ways. I’m very proud of what we created and learned from this experience. Although the venue is closed we already have ideas for our next chapter,” she said.
Over the course of the two years, Renee also said that Jonathan had become a dynamic sound engineer, and she was able to “dabble with videos,” most of which can be seen at the venue’s YouTube page, TurntableNC.
“Turntable ignited a flame that will continue to burn,” Renee added. “In the mean time, people will find us out and about discovering new music and enjoying other people’s creative spaces.”
Turntable held an open house yard sale this past weekend, offering records, bar equipment, and storage shelves. The mood in the closed venue was still enthusiastic despite the abrupt change, and much like an actual turntable, the owners will most definitely find their rhythm again on this next rotation.
“Music being such a hard part for my and my husbands lives, we are very appreciative of the people.
Renee spoke somberly about having to close the doors to the venue, but added that it’s bittersweet and emphasized their mutual excitement for the next chapter.
“We have different ideas for what we can do in the future to support artists in creative ways,” she said.
Whatever that way happens to be, we are excited to see what comes of it. If you remember our past Tunes feature on Music at Big Purple, then you can rest assured knowing that there will still be small, intimate venues where you can enjoy your favorite music. !