Members of New Orleans funk outfit Galactic have purchased their city’s iconic venue Tipitina’s, a NOLA institution that was founded in 1977 and has recently faced financial uncertainty, The New Orleans Advocate reports.
Though the band was rumored to have interest in purchasing Tipitina’s, the deal was apparently finalized on Friday afternoon. New Orleans real estate developer Roland Von Kurnatowski, who owned the club since the ’90s, has recently been involved in a number of lawsuits and accusations of withholding payment from bands who have played his venue, including The Radiators who, The Advocate notes, had to wait weeks to be compensated for their annual January reunion shows at Tip’s early this year, leading the band to decline a return to the venue for Jazz Fest 2019.
Galactic’s purchase of Tipitina’s will not include the Tipitina’s Foundation that Von Kurnatowski founded to help local music education for children. Though the band has not officially announced their purchase, they did use their Twitter account to hint at the transaction with a single banana emoji (a banana is prominently featured in the Tip’s iconic logo).
Tipitina’s was originally founded in ’77 by a collection of New Orlean’s music lovers as a place to host performances from legendary pianist Professor Longhair and more, and the venue has helped the careers of countless NOLA acts throughout the decades. Radiators bassist Reggie Scanlan tells The Advocate that Tip’s is “ground zero for New Orleans music” and that he thinks Galactic’s ownership signals a positive change for the venue and its future. “It will be wonderful for it to be back in the hands of people who appreciate what it is and what it has to offer,” he says.
Howie Kaplan, who owns another NOLA staple venue, Howlin’ Wolf, and manages bands like Rebirth Brass Band and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, also commented on Galactic’s new ownership of Tipitina’s to The Advocate, saying, “If anyone can put the luster back and take away some of the negativity that’s out there, they might be the guys to do that. You won’t find people that care more about New Orleans music. I can’t imagine they would do anything other than take good care of the bands.”