The doors to the Druid City Music Hall on The Strip have been closed for months as extensive renovations and the COVID-19 pandemic have postponed live entertainment there for much of 2020, but the venue may be open to the public again as soon as next month.

The Tuscaloosa Thread got an exclusive look inside at the $1.6 million renovations that have been underway since earlier this summer, and DCMH co-owner Jason Oschwald said patrons are going to love them.

"I want to invite everybody to come down here and check it out as soon as possible," Oschwald said.

The transformation of the Druid City Music Hall is a sight to behold and required contractors to completely strip the inside of the building. Oschwald highlighted some of the major additions, including a raised, wider stage to improve sightlines, construction of two balconies on either side of the stage, entirely renovated backrooms for artists and a paved back parking lot.

Oschwald and co-owner Bill Propst emphasized not just making a better experience for the audiences, but also for the artists.

"We want to create an environment where our artists feel comfortable, feel welcome," said Propst. "Without them, none of this works."

Additional space was a priority for the venue even before the pandemic necessitated accommodations allowing social distancing. The building has raised its maximum capacity from 750 to 1,000, and Oschwald said the bathrooms have been entirely remodeled to prevent bottlenecking of people waiting in line.

"All of this extra capacity is going to allow us to get bigger acts," Oschwald said. "Where some bands might not have been able to fit in that footprint, they now have a bigger stage that they could play on."

The venue's bars have also moved from its interior sides to spaces nearer to the entrance to prevent overcrowding once audiences have filled up the space.

(Noah Lueker)

Oschwald said he they have also implemented some "future-proofing" techniques for hands-free alternatives to sinks throughout the building and touchless pay methods at the bars.

Construction on the Druid City Music Hall is scheduled to be completed by October, and although they haven't booked any acts for the next season, Oschwald hopes that the venue will serve as the site of all sorts of events, ranging from wedding receptions to Greek and student events -- Oschwald said even businesses and civic organizations could rent the space and host events at the concert hall.

For more updates on the renovations, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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