Community fund keeps Donn's Depot alive, other venues still in danger

Music venue owners are begging Congress to take action before more locations have to close their doors for good. 

For more than five months now, empty tables and a quiet stage have been all that's left inside Donn's Depot. 

"Hopefully it’ll get better. We’re waiting and we don’t know when or if or how," said Donn Adelman who bought the bar almost 42 years ago.  

For several decades, live music has been bouncing off the walls every night but Sundays, but, in 2020, that all came crashing down. "It was going alright and then, all of a sudden, here comes the 14th of March and that’s the last day we were able to work," Adelman said. 


As days turned to weeks, and the shutdown orders for bars and music venues remained in place, reality set in. Donn's Depot was in danger. 

"I was going to do everything I could to stay open. I never had an intention of shutting down, not after this many years," said Adelman. 

One of Donn's best customers had an idea, an All-Star Subscription fund. Just 250 people pledging $50 a month would do the trick. In return, subscribers get access to two private events and their name added to the wall of thanks. In just days, the donations far exceeded the goal. 


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Adelmann even welcomed some of his regular bands back to the stage for virtual shows. He said the support will keep them rocking until the end of the year. 

"The comments that come along with the contributions, you almost want to sit and shed a tear from it. I didn’t know people loved us that much, but apparently they do," Adelman said.  

RELATED: Austin City Council approves relief for live music venues

Donn knows he's not alone though. 

Tuesday, several Austin music venues lit up in red to support the Red Alert Restart campaign. The campaign encourages Congress to pass the Restart Act, which would provide assistance for shuttered venues and help millions who lost their income during the pandemic. Without the help or the ability to reopen, the majority of live venues say they'll close by Halloween.

RELATED: Majority of Austin music venues say they won’t last more than a few months

"This is a plea to get us, and all other bars that are under the same circumstances that we are, especially those that have live music, back open again. It’s very important to Austin if this is going to be the Live Music Capital of the World

Nationwide, about 1,500 venues participated in the Red Alert Restart campaign. (

To join the Donn's Depot All-Star Subscription fund, donate on or Venmo: @donn-adelman. You can also make checks payable to:
Donn's Depot
1600 W. 5th Street
Austin, TX 78703


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