When the Show Can’t Go On: Brian Teasley of Saturn on Running a Music Venue During COVID-19

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rat illustration by jimmy mcclure
Illustration by Jimmy McClure

Brian Teasley, founder and owner of Saturn in Birmingham, AL, joins Carrie this week on The Localist. Saturn is coming up on its fifth year as a music venue, bar, and coffee shop, and Brian tells us how he pulled from his years of experience as both a touring musician and venue co-owner (of Birmingham’s Bottletree) to make Saturn such a success. Brian and Carrie agree that you have to think beyond numbers when measuring the success of your business, and discuss boundaries and saying no to opportunities. Brian then tells us how Saturn got started, and how the venue recovered from a fire that broke out three years into being open. Brian and Carrie then pivot to the topic on everyone’s mind: the pandemic. Brian tells us how they handled closing their doors and having to let staff go. Brian and Carrie then dive into the hospitality that Saturn extends to both performers and patrons, and what they do differently to ensure everyone has a great experience. They wrap up by discussing how to support not only Saturn, but the arts community and local businesses in Birmingham as a whole. 

Mentioned in this episode: 

Saturn Birmingham

Man or Astro-man?


Church Street Coffee and Books 

Howard Finster

Sidewalk Film Festival

They Might be Giants

Iron City

Zero Mile 

Terminal West 

Variety Playhouse 

Georgia Theater

Cave 9

The Nick

Seasick Records 


Post Office Pies

Crestwood Coffee 

Shu Shop

Sanctum Tattoos and Comics

Piper & Leaf Tea Company

Beach House 

TV On The Radio 

Animal Collective

About Carrie

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find the Localist at @thinklocalist on Instagram and follow Carrie at @crollwagen.

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