Logjam Presents Owner On Venue Shutdown: ‘We Will Weather This Storm’

Nick Checota, Logjam Presents
– Nick Checota, Logjam Presents

Missoula-Mont.,-based Logjam Presents has postponed all of its scheduled live events for the next 30 days at venues operated or booked by the company, including the Wilma Theatre and Top Hat Lounge in Missoula and the Kettlehouse Amphitheatre in nearby Bonner. 

While there had been no official order to stop gatherings in Montana at the time the decision was made, Logjam Presents owner Nick Checota told Pollstar, “We felt that it was irresponsible to go against the guidance of the CDC. We live in a community with three confirmed cases and want to do what we can to limit any spread beyond that. It could be an overreaction, who knows?”
The impact of the shutdown period is profound, with shows being affected by artists such as Liquid Stranger, Grace Potter,  Aaron Watson, Of Montreal,  and others.
“The way I look at it is we have a business model where all of our revenue was eliminated in three days,” Checota adds.  “We have nothing coming in at all now, and actually revenue going out with people asking for refunds to sold-out events.” Checota says the company is refunding all tickets for canceled events and refunding rescheduled events as requested. 
“We’re not a Live Nation but we are a company that has 200 employees and a $4.4 million payroll,” he added. “People rely on me for their well being and ability to pay their bills.”
Checota says it stings to have to shut down restaurant operations as well, where the Top Hat Restaurant and Bar brings in $4.5 million in revenue per year, but says he is aiding employees with his own fund to help make up for lost wages.
“What I can tell you is I think anyone who thinks this is all over in 30-60 days is living in fantasy land,” Checota says. “There’s not going to be an immediate return to normalcy but in the long run it will return to a normal situation and our business will pick up where it left off hopefully.
“The big question that comes is the overall economic impact of this event, and what does that do on a two- to five-year horizon on the industry? We just don’t know.”
Looking ahead to the summer outdoor concert season, Checota says many shows, such as Brandi Carlile scheduled to play in late May, have already been provided backup dates in case the postponements continue, and he noted the support and understanding from the booking agents and competing promoters all dealing with this at the same time.
“Logjam will be able to weather the storm,” Checota adds. “It’ll be painful and me, personally, as the only owner of the company I’ll have to use most of my own resources to weather this storm. But we will weather it.”