Just a few hours before the doors were scheduled to open on Saturday night, the Turf Club called off its gig with Marijuana Deathsquads, turned out the lights, and hung signs on the front doors that read "Closed for repair."
Manager Dave Wiegardt, who has worked at the club for the last 15 years and helped to shape it as an institution in the local community along with former staff members Rob and Leah Rule, was let go on Saturday night. The locks were changed, and staff were given no notice of the closing -- though regulars and staff members report that the bar hadn't been fully stocked in weeks and that they knew "something was up."
[jump] So what's happening?
"It's just management," insists owner Tom Scanlon. "It's just a change in management. This won't change our relationship with local bands."
Scanlon is handing the reins over to new manager Josh James.
In a press release issued today, James says the club will "bring its accustomed rock-and-roll swagger back to Saint Paul's Midway" with a projected re-open date of January 11.
"New hours of operation and a new direction will be the hallmarks of the re-working of the venerable jewel of the midway," the press release states. "Focus on local music will remain the cornerstone of the business."
That leaves several shows up in the air for the time being, including the big MC/VL farewell show next Saturday night with Pink Mink and Slapping Purses. MC/VL says they are looking for a new location for their show, and might postpone their gig until a later date.
We're working on getting a hold of James to ask him more questions about the changes to the Turf; we'll post more updates when we have them.
UPDATE: We chatted with new manager Josh James about his plans for the club, read our full interview here.