For Madhappy Lounge owner Reggie Martinez, the financial obstacles have piled up over the past year.
First, he took over the old Bendistillery Martini Bar space downtown and changed the name to Madhappy Lounge. Then, he lost some customers who visited the bar specifically for Bendistillery products.
Add in the Central Oregon winter, the tough economy and the loss of one investor, and Madhappy Lounge is “teetering,” Martinez said.
“We’ve kept our head above water and just made it check by check,” he said last week. “(In) February ... I really started thinking about a show that would generate some income to put back into the bar, so I (called) on everyone that I’ve been good to for the last four or five years.”
Under Martinez, Madhappy has hosted live music of all kinds and rarely charged a cover. Regular performers include rappers Scarub, Sleep, Mosley Wotta and Cloaked Characters, DJs Barisone, SPL, Defekt and Harlo, and rockers like Shade 13, Leif James and Lyible.
All of those artists and many more will play Sunday’s all-day music festival at Century Center, where proceeds will go to “the sustainability of the Madhappy (Lounge),” according to the event’s poster. Cover is $5 and kids get in free.
Martinez has dubbed the event “Keep Art Alive” because of his goal to make the lounge a hub for urban culture in Bend.
“Madhappy isn’t just a bar to go out and drink and party,” he said. “I do it for the love of the art, the music, the culture, and (bringing) people together.
“It’s such a small town, but it seems like everyone’s segregated and doing their own thing ... to make their dream happen,” he said. “My thing is always, ‘Let’s all come together and make all our dreams come true.’”
Besides three stages of music, Sunday’s event will also include visual art, merchandise booths, food, drinks, auctions and a kids’ area. In addition to raising money, Martinez hopes to raise the bar’s profile.
“We’re really just trying to build awareness for everything we do and what we’re trying to accomplish, and that’s to one day have a pivotal place where we bring good art and music through on a regular basis,” he said. “A lot of that depends on this summer.”
Madhappy Lounge benefit with Sleep, Scarub, Mosley Wotta, SPL, Barisone, Leif James and more ; noon Sunday till late; $5, kids free; Century Center, 70 S.W. Century Drive, Bend; firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-388-6868 or “Madhappy Musik” on Facebook.
— Ben Salmon