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The Warehouse is Family

posted Feb 18, 2012, 10:12 AM by Sarah Brehm   [ updated Feb 18, 2012, 10:21 AM ]

It’s been just over a month since an incident in downtown Chattanooga resulted in the unintended closure of The Warehouse. Since then, owner Casey Whitaker and staff have been busy. By mid-January, The Warehouse had started a Kickstarter fundraiser with a lofty goal—raise $10,000. But here was the catch, if the goal was not reached by the deadline, then The Warehouse would receive none of the money already raised, an all-or-nothing situation. For a month, fans anxiously watched the amount raised slowly increase, but that goal seemed too far away. In the final days of the fundraiser, the money poured in, and when the deadline hit on February 11, The Warehouse had a total of $12,225!


But the love for The Warehouse hasn’t stopped there. The idea for a benefit show emerged on Facebook. Blake Ross, drummer for Speakeasy and frontman for Between Two Seas, saw people suggesting the idea and decided to act on it. Before he even had a place booked, he had several bands on board with the idea. Alex Jarvis, of Axiom, talked to his pastor at Journey Church in Hixson about hosting the event. Thus, on the night of February 11, bands and fans of the Warehouse showed up to hang out together. None of the bands performing that night were paid. Instead, the $10.00 cover charge went right into the pockets of The Warehouse.


“Anytime we’ve been able to help them out,” says Blake, “we’ve jumped to it because they’re our bros. They’re incredibly nice people—they’re as good as good can get, honestly.”


“We’ve known Casey for about two years now,” says Tripp Howell, lead vocalist for the electronic rock band Oaklynn. “Every time we’re [at The Warehouse], it’s always a good time. Those guys are some of my best friends. It’s more than just a place to play a show. You feel like family with all those guys. Even as a band, the relationship is family-oriented. You pull up and they give you a big hug—at every show!”


Even though The Warehouse has gotten a reputation for hosting hardcore shows, Oaklynn says they love the people in the hardcore scene, mainly because the audience isn’t afraid to dance to their catchy pop-rock music.


Brandon Ray, the lead vocalist of hardcore band Axiom, explains why a place like The Warehouse is important: “It’s something better to do than what most kids get themselves into these days. It keeps them out of trouble. It keeps them entertained. They have somewhere to go if they have something going wrong at home or school or at work. It’s just a place to be free, to be yourself, to be with people you care about it. It’s almost like a family, honestly”


Alex added, “The first time I ever went [to the Warehouse] was actually with our last drummer. Some dude he knew was playing a show, so I just went. And I kept going. It felt like a good place to me.”


Alex Preavett, of Gateway 2 Nowhere, didn’t play the benefit show, but wanted to share his first experience at The Warehouse: “We just finished seventh grade. I really didn’t know what to expect about it. When I got there, I felt very welcome and was definitely show some of God’s love. Everyone there was supportive to every band, and the friendly atmosphere made me come back.”


The Warehouse isn’t just positively affecting the bands that play there. “I used to be in bands and friends with a lot of bands that played at the Warehouse before I ever started to work there,” says James Black. “Before working at the warehouse I was never a believe or a follower of Christ. I always went to church youth just to hang out with friends. I only knew of God but never accepted him into my life.


“December 18, 2008, my mom passed away. It was one of the hardest things that has ever happened in my life. The next few days and nights I was looked up in my room and stayed away from the world. One day, a friend of mine who was in a band I helped out with ask me to come to a show. Before then I would go to the warehouse only when my friends played and never really got the idea of it being a God loving place.


“After the show I ask to have some one-on-one time with Casey and some of the other staff. It took the love from other people that I didn't really know to spark something in me. After that I felt an energy in the place I've never felt before and with the people there. It took other people talking to me and praying for me and just loving me to open my eyes and see the real God.


“I’ve met so many awesome people and bands and Christ followers at that [the Warehouse]. I’ve fellowship with many kids and opened their eyes, like Casey and the rest did for me years ago. The Warehouse has been one of the greatest things in my life. It is my home away from home. Without it, I don't know where I'd be today.”


Words by: Sarah Brehm
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