Red 7 Will Close/Sidewinder Will Open
Red 7 and Red Eyed Fly partners join forces in a new venue
By Kevin Curtin,
1:14PM, Wed. Aug. 5, 2015
Prominent Red River live music venue Red 7 will shutter at the end of September, at which point its owners will partner with operators of nearby club Red Eyed Fly to open a new venue, tentatively called Sidewinder.
Last month, the Chronicle reported that the two ownership groups were working to merge. “Playback” has since learned that negotiations are finalized. Reached for comment this morning, Red 7 owner Jared Cannon confirmed both the closure of his club and birth of Sidewinder, likely opening in early October.
The merger represents solidarity in the Red River Cultural District, a vibrant entertainment strip recently challenged by rent increases and encroaching development as embodied by Red 7’s sister venue Holy Mountain being forced to close because of a rent hike. Since that announcement in June, area business leaders have worked to save Red 7 from the same fate.
Sidewinder’s partnership includes Red 7 owners Cannon, Tyson Swindell, and Graham Williams, as well as Red Eyed Fly owner John Wickham and two of his silent partners at the club. Wickham, who owns Elysium and Valhalla, took over ownership of Red Eyed Fly earlier this year. Cannon portrays him as the hero here, reaching out to Red 7’s principals with the partnership opportunity that gives their lease-challenged operation new life.
Cannon says there’s seven years left on the Red Eyed Fly lease for 715 Red River.
“The whole reason this is happening is because John has bent over backwards to accommodate us,” says Cannon. “He deserves credit for keeping Red River alive.”
Sidewinder will be exclusively booked by Williams’ Transmission Events, which organizes Fun Fun Fun Fest and books the Red River mega-club Mohawk. Red 7, in business since 2006, will move much of its fall bookings to Sidewinder. Red Eyed Fly’s back patio has a capacity between 200-300 in addition to a smaller room inside that probably fits less than 100. Combined, that’s comparable to Red 7’s inside stage capacity. The discontinuation of Red 7’s large outside stage, which fits 500 people, represents a significant loss for Red River.
The closure of Red 7 follows a year of contentious lease negotiations between its partners and building owner Jim Daywood. Cannon admits a confluence of factors led to the club’s terminal outcome, but says that in the end his group couldn’t come to terms with Daywood.
“If you’d have asked me six months ago how I felt about the lease negotiations, I would have been full of piss and vinegar,” Cannon says. “It’s hard to be losing your business, not because you failed, but because someone with more money is forcing you out. But I’m happy now because this new venue means my partners and I aren’t totally losing our investments.”
Cannon and his partners had sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into improving Red 7’s interior. As for the future of that current space at 611 E. 7th Street, he isn’t aware of any prospective tenants who are looking to use the building for live music. Holy Mountain closes at the end of September as well.