Legendary LA venue The Troubadour may not survive coronavirus pandemic

Elton John made his US debut at the club in 1970

The management of Los Angeles’ The Troubadour have warned that the legendary venue may not survive to see its reopening after the coronavirus pandemic.

The club, which famously played host to Elton John‘s US debut in 1970, is facing a battle for survival after Governor Gavin Newsom confirmed that music venues will be among the last to open their doors.

Under Phase 4 of California’s plans for exiting lockdown, gigs could be halted in the state until the middle of 2021.


“That means the middle to the end of next year to potentially open, and maybe a 25% cap” on crowd size, general manager Christine Karayan told the LA Times.

Elton John
Elton John famously played The Troubadour during the early days of his career (Picture: Getty)

“I can’t foresee being able to ride this out like that.”

Since opening in the late ‘60s, The Troubadour has also helped to launch the careers of artists including Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and the Eagles.

Elton John’s performance at the club was also immortalised in the 2019 biopic Rocketman.

Karayan, whose father Ed founded the club with Doug Weston in the 60s, added: “The more I think about it, it’s just completely futile. At least a big seated venue has space where they can keep people apart. But I don’t know how that works for a general admission venue. Are you going to stop them from using the restroom?”


The Troubadour has since set up a GoFundMe page to help its 20 hourly employees, so far raising $11,400 of its $30,000 goal.

Healthcare experts in the US have also predicted that live concerts will not return until autumn 2021, with a poll finding that most American gig-goers would rather wait until a vaccine is found until attending shows again.

Meanwhile, a number of UK venues have spoken to NME about their concerns and requirements if socially-distanced indoor gigs were to be allowed in the coming months, with the Music Venue Trust detailing that a number of safe and financially viable solutions were being discussed.