Updated June 22 at 7 p.m.
The Outland Complex, a popular concert venue and bar in downtown Springfield, will remain open after a planned sale was nixed and the business raised more than $35,000 through a crowdfunding campaign and T-shirt sales.
On Wednesday, a Facebook post from the Outland Ballroom, the complex’s concert space, announced the closure. The post cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for closure.
But by Friday afternoon, the man who planned to purchase the complex, Scott Lee, said the Outland’s owner had backed out of the deal, the Springfield News-Leader reports.
According to the News-Leader, Lee said the venue’s owner, Jimmy Kochs, called off the sale after social media posts by one of Lee’s employees caused controversy.
An online petition called for a boycott of the new business, alleging its “leadership” had “displayed degrading language, racist remarks, and actions that do not stand up to the moral benchmark of what we want our downtown to be.” As of Monday, the petition had more than 3,700 signatures.
Meanwhile, a crowdfunding campaign organized by Kochs to save the Outland had raised more than $35,000 as of Monday.
Last month, the Outland had started a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to stay afloat, but it couldn’t reach its goal, leading to Wednesday’s announcement.
Patrons took to social media to pay tribute to the bar and live music venue after the announcement.
Update: June 22 at 7 p.m.
This post and its headline were updated to reflect developments since the initial announcement of the planned sale of the Outland Complex.