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Sugar City Plots its Next Course of Action

It’s tough hearing about businesses that are struggling during COVID. Just when this city was finally getting its act together, especially the live music scene, the virus struck.

One of those entities that helped to push the live music envelope was Sugar City, first in Allentown, and then on Niagara Street. It wasn’t that long ago that the DIY art collective made a decision to forge ahead on the West Side, while fortifying its creative efforts with new blood and a new lease on life (learn more).

That was last year. This year is very different. Since the art collective is a socially-driven enterprise, it depends on crowds of people to keep it going – mainly to pay the rent for its gallery, studios, and performance space at 1239 Niagara Street. Since the space is not big enough to sufficiently social distance, the events have stalled. And since the events have stalled, it looks as if – I hate to say it – Sugar City is packing its bags up and hitting the road.

Does this mean that this is the end of Sugar City? No. The Sugar City team says that they will be spending their remaining days at the space (until the end of the month), organizing a couple of virtual events:

  • The Virtual Take Over facilitated by Black Artists and Musicians throughout the month
  • The Sugar City Presents Series featuring live music Friday nights, streaming live to Facebook at 8 PM on August 14th and 21st

After 5 years on Niagara Street, and over a decade operating as an art collective, Sugar City will no longer have a physical location… at least for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean that the DIY institution will simply disappear, thankfully. According to the collective, “While the organizers have discussed different approaches to the future, we hope to use the next few months to re-charge, assess the future landscape of art and music events, and forge a new path.”

If Sugar City can virtually sustain itself until we get out of this mess, then there’s a chance that we will see it rebound in some manner, although it’s tough to tell what that might look like. At this point, the most important thing is the group’s willingness to stick together, even in a virtual sense, to keep the dream alive, while it plots its next course of action.

More information on the virtual events can be found at and on social media.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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