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Four friends team up to create Sandpoint music venue, The Hive

Part-owner Jeff Grady helps guide the lighting trusses into place at The Hive in Sandpoint. (Kathy Plonka)
Part-owner Jeff Grady helps guide the lighting trusses into place at The Hive in Sandpoint. (Kathy Plonka)

There’s a new venue buzzing with activity in Sandpoint.

About a month ago, four friends came together to create The Hive, a music and event center on 207 N. First Ave. in historic downtown Sandpoint.

The goal? To create something the small North Idaho town has never seen before.

“This town is starving for something cool,” said Lara Convery, the space’s main owner.

Monday afternoon, the owners were still putting the finishing touches on the space, formerly inhabited by local restaurant The Dive. Co-owners Rick Auletta and Jeff Grady stood on rolling platforms, installing a massive lighting system that stretches across the main floor. Shelby Rognstad, another partner, talked future shows with Convery, shouting over the loud whirring and bangs of construction.

Convery said the finishing touches should be done just in time for The Hive’s grand opening tonight. The show will feature Indubious, a southern Oregon intergalactic reggae band, and Gaudi, an internationally touring DJ from the U.K.

“We want to educate some people on some real live music,” Convery said. “A good show can change your life. You’re like ‘whoa, I get it now,’ and you have that moment, and it’s just freaking cool.”

The four know what they’re up against. Not only are they competing against larger venues in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, they’re also serving a unique audience, Convery said. With Sandpoint’s small population, the business can’t survive if it only targets one demographic, Convery said.

“It’s a fine line we’re walking, but we understand that we’re walking it,” she said. “It’s half the battle.”

But that battle served as inspiration for the space itself. The four were drawn to the idea of a community as a hive, with all parts coming together to keep it running. Rognstad, who owns the vegetarian café Common Knowledge, said the city would have “been at a loss” if it was just another bar.

Instead, he envisions a gathering place that partners with other local businesses and entertainment venues like the Panida Theater up the street.

“I envision us fitting in seamlessly with existing entertainment,” Rognstad said.

Convery sees the work paying off for the rest of the community, not just the four owners. If people travel to The Hive for shows, the local tourist economy will also grow, she said. But that can’t happen without help from people doing their part to support The Hive.

“We can do all this work and try to create this thing, but without the entire hive, without everyone coming together to support it, to buy tickets, to rent it for their Christmas parties, it probably can’t survive,” Convery said.

Tickets for tonight’s show are $20 at the door or in advance at Eichardt’s Pub, Common Knowledge and Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters in Sandpoint. The venue will have a full bar, but the show is open to all ages. Doors open at 8 p.m.

The owners are organizing several shows for the summer, including Aftival, an after party for the Festival at Sandpoint in August. The space will also be available to the public for rent, starting at $500 a night.

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