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EntertainmentMusic & NightlifeMidnight Sun

Music venue Sonar closes for good

Rumors surrounding the downtown music venue Sonar circulated online Monday, but we now can confirm it: Sonar closed "for real this time" on Sunday night, according to former general manager Jesse Griffin.

The last show at Sonar — which, over the years, has built a reputation for its wide array of shows and performers, both local and international — was Sunday, according to Griffin. California's the Millionaire$ headlined.

"Sonar is closed, very much so," Griffin said. "After Sunday night, [my staff and I] knew no one was going back to it."

Griffin says the decision to close Sonar was made by owner Dan McIntosh, who was one of 15 individuals named in a 2011 federal indictment for his alleged role in a $30 million cross-country drug ring. Baltimore City Paper first reported the indictment. (For more on the case, read Van Smith's story from May.)

"If nothing else, I want it out there that the decision and the matter in which it was carried out, neither I or the former staff had anything to do with it," Griffin said. He said he was surprised and disappointed by Sonar's closing.

Griffin could not give an official reason for Sonar's closing.

"I can't get into it, but it would be speculation on my end, anyway," he said.

Most of the scheduled Sonar shows were "pulled off already," Griffin said. The organizers of Maryland Deathfest, Sonar's biggest annual event, released a statement saying the next host is still to be determined, but all options are in Baltimore.

Griffin says there's no chance of Sonar reopening at its former location (407 E. Saratoga St.) or anywhere else, and he has no idea what will take its place.

Last May, Sonar temporarily closed over a dispute between McIntosh and club founder Lonnie Fisher, but reopened later that month. During an interview with the Sun around that time, McIntosh said his legal battles would not affect Sonar.

"Worst case scenario is I'll relinquish my share of the club and let [the other owners] continue," McIntosh said. "There's no reason for it to shut down. This is my problem. I wouldn't drag it down just because I'm in some [expletive.]"

What's your favorite memory from Sonar? (No shame in my game: I converted to a Hellogoodbye fan there one fall.) Let's hear 'em in the comments.

wesley.case@baltsun.com
twitter.com/midnightsunblog

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