Kevin Burns, proprietor of the Talent Farm in Pembroke Pines, is not a masochist as far as we can tell. Burns was the owner of a successful business installing security systems prior to starting the Talent Farm. What has become the only true all-ages venue in South Florida was built with the intention of offering a cutting-edge rehearsal and recording space as passion project that involved Burns' son Matt, a songwriter who has been performing in South Florida bands since his teens. Although there is always the possibility that the disembodied voice from Field of Dreams now lurks in the swamps off of State Road 27, we believe it far more likely that the converted warehouse space simply took on a role no one else would take any longer.
Now, it's no secret that Broward County is seriously lacking venues for live music.
Despite the fact that we have a handful of beloved bars and clubs that appear stable, the music industry is a fickle one, and the burdens placed on venues -- music's true haven -- are extreme. Expenses like proper insurance, sound equipment to appropriately present the music we all care so much about, and trained staff to run said equipment make owning a music venue an extremely expensive venture. Oh? You need a bar as well? These costs add up. Currently the Talent Farm is feeling the financial effects of a crappy economy and a scene that often lacks support for live music.
All-ages venues like Talent Farm are the spawning grounds of future music. They provide a safe harbor for us to learn who we are as musicians but, more important, who we are as people. I can personally trace the vast majority of my own long-lasting relationships -- both personal and business-oriented -- to my days running amok at hardcore shows from Palm Beach to Miami with my group of miscreant friends. Every other musical avenue I've since walked has been opened to me through my time at places like the Talent Farm, and I have played my share of shows on that awkwardly tall stage (or carpeted floor) and can attest to the importance of those salad days.
Kevin Burns believes in the youth in a way that no one else really appears to anymore. The man has risked his financial stability for years to offer a safe environment for the aural horrors that we all must work through before we grow into ourselves as musicians. Beyond that, Burns has given Broward a home for touring acts not yet large enough to attract the attention of the area's larger clubs. Perhaps most important, Burns has always been supportive of the music scene on a human level, providing a hot meal for bands on the road, genuinely giving a shit about fledgling locals, and occasionally providing a couch to sleep on when times have gotten tough for some of us.
Though it's been a constant struggle to keep the lights on in the velour-lined rehearsal space turned venue, the rubber has met the road, and Burns could use some assistance. A donations page has been started by fans of the venue, and Burns has begun looking for a partner or future caretaker for the Talent Farm. Despite all of the tribulations, Burns still believes in the Talent Farm and is hopeful for the future, saying:
"As crazy as it sounds, I still believe it's a great concept with a lot of vertical market potential. Record, rehearse, showcase, all of that can be expanded into artist management, record label services, even multiple locations. Take it a step further and provide food and drink and you've got a pretty hefty concept."
Some fans have left comments with their donations on the Gofundme.com page extolling the venue and the time they've spent there. Here are some that mirror our own sentiments about the place.
"This place changed my life and most importantly offered me opportunity. I am forever grateful for Mr. Burns opening this place to give us musicians the chance to showcase our craft. Long live TTF." - Justin Trudeau
"This venue has been a part of my life for a very long time and I honestly don't know what I would do without it! I'm more than happy to help as much as I can." - Lucas Racine
"It's the one place a lot of us can safely go go get away from our problems or stress. The one place where music is truly the main focus. Not money, not sex, not getting fucked up, just music in what ever form you want to make it. it's not common to have a place like this in the world, let alone South Florida - my home. I appreciate everything this place has done for me." - Doug Posner
The link to donate is below. All funds go directly to Burns and his efforts to continue providing a home for young music in South Florida.