Saturday January 14th marked the end of Brittney Dixon’s run as General Manager of The Court Tavern, the 35-year-old music venue that has so often been the nerve center for New Jersey’s music and arts scene. A few things to clear up: Dixon was not fired and The Court Tavern did not fail. She stepped down on her own terms and while The Court Tavern is temporarily closed, it will eventually reopen. Whether or not it continues as a live music venue or – as rumored – a private, for-rent event space remains to be seen.
I’ve wracked my brain for exactly what to say when you announced you’d be moving on. Of course this isn’t where you started. Whether it was you leading fire pit sing-alongs at The Rail House, your resilience during your time at The Scarlet, or your hard-fought victory taking over The Court Tavern, I feel honored and privileged to have watched you mature; to have watched you hone your very particular genius into something that has benefitted so many. I will miss that more that you can imagine.
The Paper Jets have been a band since the summer of 2008. And while we had experienced positive things along our way, there is a distinct line drawn between before and after we began working together. Your efforts, faith, patience with and belief in us has left us in an exponentially better place. As for however much longer The Paper Jets remain a going concern, there’s a good chance that whatever success may await us in the future will be able to be traced back to that fateful night in August of 2014 when we first met. For that, we will remain forever grateful.
For me personally, I have met so many wonderfully kind people whom I hope to know for decades to come. I’ve seen bands break up and new ones form. I’ve seen friendships grow into romance. I’ve seen people comfort each other during moments of confusion, trouble, or uncertainty. You have been praised for your ability to curate shows and put the right bands on the right nights with one another. But to me, your gift has been your ability to put the right people together. You gave individuals a place to go and a community in which it was completely okay to come as you were. Be sad. Be happy. Be proud or disappointed. Be anxious or zealous. Discover yourself. Gay, bi, straight, queer, trans, it didn’t matter. Everyone was welcome. Everyone – like the bands you booked – was given two things: equal footing and a chance.
To those who may quietly pump their collective fist at the news of your departure, they possess neither the constitution nor the conviction to understand what it means to build a community based on love and positive reinforcement. Remember, too, they got ousted because of their own mismanagement. You’re out on your own terms, Britt. You’re moving forward. Because there’s no one to fill your considerable shoes speaks to the tireless heavy-lifting you’ve managed to do and the wonderful things you’ve accomplished. Their failure is your victory forever now.
And for all those you have helped over the years, remember that the street moves both ways. When you turn the key and lock up The Court one last time, recall what these bands did for you, too. Some donated their time or their sets; others donated members on nights when the Court was a little short-staffed. Others rallied last minute when acts dropped out. You created a beautiful symbiosis; people got it – they bought in and gave back. They showed support in their own way, believing the vision – your vision! I say with love to hold dearly the joy that this all brought you.
With Love and Luck,
P.S. But don’t just take it from me…
Brittney has done some amazing things for [New Brunswick] and the musicians that surround it. In a city of basement venues that periodically get moved around or shut down, she has provided a stable hub of good music and good people run by an excellent crew. It’s allowed musicians from all over to hone their craft in front of their peers. By giving us this, Brittney has also brought together one of the best families anyone could hope to be a part of; people and bands that may never have met have instead shared stage and drink at the Court and formed bonds that will outlive us all. She pulled us all together in a way that I think is going to stick. And hopefully we will have a chance to give back to her something even close to that important. –Max Resnick, We’re Ghosts Now
Besides her knack of discovering and fostering up-and-coming bands and musicians, I think the coolest thing about Brittney is the fact that she’s created not just a music scene, but a community. There’s no clique, it’s just a bunch of friendly misfits who have come together in support of each other and each other’s art. Looking forward to seeing where she goes next. –Renee Maskin, Lowlight
I met Brittney back in the summer of 2014. Since then I have played countless shows at places I, at the time, never even felt cool or comfortable enough to enter. Brittney helped me overcome that by giving me constant opportunities and encouragement. She ended up being one of my favorite bandmates and introduced me to an amazing musical family. She is one of most welcoming people I have ever met, someone I am proud to have supported, and someone I’ll always be proud to call a friend. –Ryan Hanratty, Frosted Green Interviews
I can never thank Brittney enough for giving Centennials our first show. If it weren’t for her taking a chance on us I would’ve never met all of the amazing musicians I now call friends and band mates. –Pete Stern, Rose Blvd
Local concerts are an opportunity to come together as a community and appreciate the talent, beauty, and creativity that surrounds us. As musicians, the opportunity to perform and connect is like oxygen; we need it to survive. Alpha Rabbit is very grateful to Brittney Dixon and The Court Tavern for giving our band opportunities to play and to enjoy being a part of such a vibrant NJ scene. Thank you very much! –Jaime Parker, Alpha Rabbit
More memories Saturday…
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