ONCE Somerville to Reopen with Day of Celebrations

cuisine en localeJJ Gonson stands behind the bar at ONCE. Photo by Jess Benjamin.

ONCE Somerville will reopen on Sept. 16 after a a roughly six-week closure, according to owner JJ Gonson.

The venue closed indefinitely in August due to a series of financial setbacks including a “bookkeeper failure,” some show cancellations, and a robbery, Gonson told Scout in July. But Gonson and her team have used the intervening weeks to make a myriad of small tweaks to the venue—ranging from a reorganized bar to making sure there’s a designated person to meet the bands—designed to make things run more smoothly, and also implemented some aesthetic changes including new art installations in the bathrooms.

“It’s going to be really exciting to be open again, for everybody,” Gonson says. “Everybody’s waiting with anticipation and excitement, in a really positive way.”

The reopening, dubbed “All at ONCE: A Triumphant Return,” will start in the afternoon with the cutting of a ribbon that Gonson is making out of band stickers. Then ONCE will present Awaaz Do, sister, and Lockette on its stage at the day’s SomerStreets event, Strike Up the Bands. The venue will also host an outdoor beer garden near the stage.

ONCE has indoor entertainment lined up as well. Four local photographers have curated a photo show with work from more than 20 “Boston rock photographers.” “LOCAL Focus: A Celebration & Sale of Boston Rock Photography,” will be on display in the ballroom from 2 to 10 p.m.

“Boston rock [photography] is a scene that I don’t think people understand or know is a really intense and thriving scene,” Gonson says. “The same way that the music scene is intense, the Boston rock photography scene is really bonded and supportive of each other.”

At night, a free concert sends off Bob Colby—who a ONCE press release calls “a fixture in the Boston music community since the ’70s,” and Gonson explains has been a devoted music patron for years—with 15 mini sets from artists including Chris Brokaw, Happy Little Clouds, and Classic Ruins. “A Fond Farewell: Bob Colby’s Musical Adieu” will start at 7:30 p.m.