South Florida's local music community is still reeling from the change of guard at Churchill's Pub — the first since the revered punk-rock establishment opened its doors in 1979 — and the most unexpected closing of the Talent Farm in Pembroke Pines.
Although the two may seem unrelated on the surface, each venue provided a home for the area's outcasts and shared plenty of patrons. The Talent Farm served a more specific purpose, however: It was an all-ages venue that offered a place for the youths of the area to express themselves. What was lost in not serving alcohol was gained in seeing a decade of young bands grow into adults while finding their voices, musically and otherwise.
Kevin Burns, with the help of stalwart promoter John McHale, eventually put the Talent Farm (which had originally been built as a recording and rehearsal studio) on the map with touring national hardcore and punk acts. It was known to traveling bands as a place to play with a built-in crowd, solid locals, and a warm meal for those traveling through. Though the circumstances that led to the end of the Talent Farm were bizarre, they say you can't keep a good man down. The stellar karma Burns has collected over the years came back in a hurry by way of a partnership with Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live on a new project: the Talent Farm and Revolution Rising.
Burns will be bringing with him his particular expertise in presenting local shows and smaller shows that Revolution formerly wouldn't have hosted. We spoke with an excited Burns about the merger and what he hopes for the future with Revolution.
New Times: How exactly did this merger happen? Did you approach them?
Kevin Burns: They called me up, they asked me if I wanted to do anything, I ran some numbers by them, and they said, "Yeah!" So, it's kind of like I'm pinching myself! I mean, we'll see after a couple of shows. The first show has to happen. I feel that it's really important that I put on a great show — it can't be a mediocre show. If it is, then my clout is no longer. If it works, I get another chance to go through the same process; if it doesn't work, then I'm done. I'm trying to get 300 people out there. If I can get 300, I'm really happy, because I'm not quite expecting 300.
What is your ideal outcome? What would you like to see happen in the future with the merger?
At this point, I'm just taking it a step at a time. I really want to do the best that I can for them and make the best impression that I can and let the record speak for itself. If I'm doing good, we'll do more shows. If I'm not, we're back to smaller venues. The end.
I'm trying to do my annual Fan Fest at Revolution because that was always big. And I'm hoping to get back together some of the older guys that were at the Talent Farm when I was just starting out and put some of these bands back together. I was hoping to put together a Turducken [South Florida's ultimate Slipknot tribute] reunion show. Nobody is ready for that. That was so much fun!
If the first show is a success, can we expect more local acts on the big stage?
A lot of it depends on the promoters that I work with. I work with various promoters, and when we were doing it at the Talent Farm, it was really easy, because if the show didn't work out, it wasn't a big deal. But now that my name is on the line, if the show doesn't work out, it's my credibility as a promoter. A guy my age needs his credibility.