Local 506 Gets New Ownership, But Keeps its Local Roots Intact | Music Feature | Indy Week
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Local 506 Gets New Ownership, But Keeps its Local Roots Intact 

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After four years at the helm of Local 506, a longtime staple of the Triangle's live music scene, Kippy and Tom Perkins are stepping down. But ownership of the venue won't stray far from home. On May 4, two local music veterans, Stephen Mooneyhan and Rob Walsh, will become the venue's new owners.

Kippy Perkins says the ownership change was precipitated by a need for the venue to have more hands-on owners.

"We just realized that the long-term sustainability of the 506 called for an owner-operator model," Perkins says. "We were not really working as owner-operators. We have an amazing staff that, basically, we delegated everything to, especially [in] the last year."

It was important to the couple for the new leadership to preserve the club's important role in Chapel Hill's independent music scene. When Mooneyhan, the venue's general manager, and Walsh, a longtime employee and member of the band Bitter Resolve, proposed to buy the venue, Perkins described it a "no-brainer." Both have deep roots in the music community and vowed to keep the venue small and independent at a time when downtown addresses are ceding to more lucrative ventures and formerly independent venues such as The Ritz now belong to corporations like Live Nation.

Located on West Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill, Local 506 opened its doors in 1992. The midsize venue, which holds around 250 people, pairs touring acts and local ones, filling a crucial niche for bands that can't pack out a venue as large as Cat's Cradle. Kippy and Tom Perkins bought it from Glenn Boothe, who had owned it for about a decade. Over the past four years, the couple presided over hefty renovations to the venue's bar and facade, and maintained the room's reputation as a small, solid club.

Kippy Perkins says the most rewarding part of the experience has been working with a dedicated and passionate staff.

"They're honestly some of the best people in this town," she says. "It's a really tough business and they just put their heart, sweat, and soul into their work, day after day."

She and her husband will remain in Chapel Hill, where they say they will continue to support the local music scene in other ways. Meanwhile, Mooneyhan and Walsh celebrate with a launch party on May 4 featuring deejay 20th Century Boy spinning industrial, goth, and dark wave records. Perkins is excited for what the new duo will bring to the venue.

"It really is bittersweet to step away from the 506, and I'm proud of the work we did there," Perkins says. "I think it will continue to hold its ground as a full-fledged member of the community and have as positive of an impact as it does now."

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