The doors are closing on 242 Main performance space with a final show on Dec. 3rd, but before we say goodbye, let’s remember its past and look to the future!
Past to Present
Opened in 1984 with the persistent help of then Major of Burlington, Bernie Sanders, the musically-oriented youth haven was adopted and given the name 242 Main. The center opened its doors to teens interested in social engagements ranging from evening coffee houses to live music events. Thirty-two years later, the center still stands and is believed to be the oldest all-ages, substance-free punk club in the country. Its legacy lives on due to its overwhelming connection to the punk culture and unique mission to bring the community together through shared interests in music, activism, community service and the arts. Being run solely by a board comprised of independent youth and adult community members, the center has experienced its highs and lows.
Many hardcore punk fans adopted a cultural dress code, often showcased at live music events at 242 Main. The trending style included but was not limited to combat boots or sneakers, masculine styled t-shirts and jeans, leather jackets, and colorful spiked hair. Many participating youths undoubtedly wore black X’s on the back of their hands, a “straight edge” symbol advocating for a drug and alcohol free punk subculture and lifestyle.
Over the last three decades, there have been numerous threats of closing the center due to budget cuts and a lack of revenue. Luckily, in the late 1990’s, the Burlington Parks and Recreation Department willingly took on the teen center as one of its primary program locations. With this newly developed partnership in combination with a high interest level among local teens and young aspiring musicians, the center has seen serious growth in various areas.
The department developed programs and activities designed for teens to feel empowered and to enhance their personal growth, leadership development, social network, and knowledge about music and the arts. As 242 Main began to take a new progressive direction, there was real growth in diversity of programs and activities, leading to the exponential growth of size and attendance in the classes. Participants have the unique opportunity to assist in programming, which includes picking bands for events hosted at the center.
Music to Feed the Soul
A wide variety of musicians have played on the historical stage at 242 Main, each offering a unique style of music for its intended audience to enjoy. Genres have ranged from folk and melodic punk to heavy metal and acoustic rock.
A blast from the past. In 2006, a performance by legendary My Revenge, a popular hardcore punk rock band, left the young crowd pleading for more!
A more recent punk band, Stumpf, blew the crowd away on the 242 Main performance stage this past February!
The Final Show
As many already know, the Burlington Memorial Auditorium, for numerous reasons including budget shortfalls and cracks in the superstructure, will be closing its doors and will no longer be a location for hosted events. Unfortunately that means an end to 242 Main as it is located in the basement of the auditorium. But before the doors are closed forever on the 242 Main performance space, the Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department has teamed up with the Fletcher Free Library to plan one last show! There will be a Planning Meeting for the community to contribute input on who will play at the FREE final show on December 3.
The Planning Meeting for the Final 242 show will be help on November 3 at 6:00pm to 8:00pm at 242 Main. So if you went to 242 in your youth, here’s a fantastic opportunity to bring in the next generation before the doors close! Can’t make it to the meeting? Feel free to email your ideas to email@example.com! Learn more about the final show by visiting http://enjoyburlington.com/event/planning-meeting-final-242-show/.
242 Main Documentary Production
To further preserve the 242 Main legacy, three prominent organizations – Burlington Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department; Big Heavy World; and Vermont Community Access Media (VCAM) have partnered up to create a lasting film, showcasing the historical teen center and the people who made it legendary.
What makes it legendary?
242 Main has had a heavy impact on the lives of thousands of young Vermonters. It’s dedicated to empowering youth through programs, innovation and the arts, which represent an outlet for self-expression. We are celebrating the success of 242 Main by planning a final show in its honor in December and further persevering its legacy through this developing documentary.
Big Heavy World is currently organizing interviews and gathering historical information that will assist in the making of the film. For those who feel strongly about sharing their experience at 242 Main is invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Posters and photographs are urgently needed, especially from the early years of 242 Main. Scans can be sent to email@example.com where they’ll be curated for the documentary and other 242 Main commemoration projects. A 2017 release is anticipated. If you would like to learn more about the documentary, go to http://www.bigheavyworld.com/blog/2016/10/17/242-main-documentary/.
Look forward to 242 Main productions in the future! The locations will be scattered throughout the city! This will be in collaborations with the Fletcher Free Library.