July 18, 2018 / 11:53 PM

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The Upstage, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Former Stomping Ground, Struggling to Gather Support for Renovation


Bruce Springsteen fans, or at least a few of them, are working to save The Upstage, a venue in Asbury Park where The Boss and the E Street Band began their storied career. The venue will be going up for auction soon and Carrie Potter, the granddaughter of the original owners, is concerned that the new owners will potentially demolish the building to make room for new condominiums and development. She and Peter Ames Carlin, the author of Springsteen's biography Bruce, are aspiring to renovate the building and reestablish it as a music venue with a museum in tow.

The problem is that Springsteen's typically rabid fan base hasn't responded with excitement to the proposition, and it has to be theorized that they have no idea the plan exists. Potter has suggested the project would require $3 million, while a crowdfunding campaign has only gathered $500 in pledges during 14 months.

Part of the problem might be that Springsteen himself isn't aware of the building's situation, despite reportedly swinging by for a visit during 2011. Another issue might be that preservationists have simply waited too long to push the issue. The Upstage was closed during 1971 and has remained abandoned for 44 years. Obviously Springsteen didn't become a superstar for a few years, but there was plenty of time (and little competition for ownership) for more than three decades. Any fan or group could have campaigned to refurbish the club earlier and probably would have saved time and money by repairing things when they were less of a wreck.

It's been a bad year for venues relevant to the legend of The Boss. During mid-January it was announced buy the state of New Jersey that the IZOD Center, a venue that the E Street Band had played for nearly 35 years, would close down due to a lack of ticket sales and the moving of its previous professional sports teams.

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