Pack up your trombones. The Village Inn (VI) will no longer host concerts, according to manager and co-owner Margaret Lewis. Although the restaurant has held many musical events in the past, she said the new measure was established in order to seat more people in the space during business hours.
“We were faced with a problem in previous years where we ran out of room very quickly for people, so [my husband and I] made the decision … to add more seating to serve people on a more regular basis,” Lewis said. The new booths in the middle of the restaurant will not move to clear way for a standing audience, as the seating did in previous years.
The VI was a popular location for fraternity and sorority benefit concerts and regularly featured student staples like Motown, a student band that plays jazz, funk and motown music.
Carolyn Ten Eyck ’18, is a trombonist for Motown, said the majority of the band’s shows were at the VI and they are now looking at other options such as outdoor concerts and performances at the Horn Gallery.
“The VI has been Motown’s home for so long,” she said, calling the decision “the end of an era.”
Lewis weighed the potential income from serving more customers every night against the licensing fees required to host concerts and the fear of exceeding capacity.
The risk of underage drinking also played a role in the VI’s decision. “It was a minor player but yes, that was definitely in the back of our minds,” Lewis said.
Lewis emphasized that the VI was more of a restaurant than a concert venue and the change in policy reflects that.
“I honestly don’t think it’s a good venue for what it was being used for,” she said. “It’s not a music hall, we don’t have a stage, it was kind of piecemeal.”
Even so, some students are sad to hear about this change.
“I think it’s a bummer,” Keegan James ’19 said. “It was a nice place to go later in the night or to start the night. Live music is always fun and the vibe was always good at the VI, so it’s kind of sad that we are not going to have it.”
Lewis sees this as a decision made with Kenyon students in mind.
“We love the students, that’s who we cater to,” Lewis said. “Honestly, that’s why we got bigger tables … now hopefully we can seat people better.”