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Pinhook concert series to fundraise for venue survival

Durham staple and concert venue The Pinhook celebrated its seventh birthday Dec. 11, firmly rooting the bar and entertainment space as a cherished spot in the community.

But the milestone masked a sadder truth—the bar’s owner of three years, Kym Register, had recently learned that she owed over $80,000 in taxes that had been overlooked in bookkeeping under a previous owner. She was floored.

“It was an honest mistake,” Register said, but she worried about how she would find the money. 

Her friends and staff urged her to start a Fundly page, a site that facilitates crowd-sourced donations. Register was initially against it, but her emotions shifted at the incredible response from the public. 

“For me, this is not the first route I would have gone,” Register said. “I was definitely surprised at the response and completely humbled by it.”

As of Jan. 13, Register has already raised $30,993, and the Fundly has 24 days left. The donation page's description describes The Pinhook's storied history, from its 2008 beginnings spawned from the Bull City Headquarters to Register's eventual total ownership of the bar in 2012. In that time, the venue has become a place for the Duke and Durham community to enjoy.

"We've always just been a really open door," Register said. "We've never tried to be a college bar or any kind of specific bar other than a music venue."

She added that, while The Pinhook doesn't specifically serve Duke, they encourage Duke students to come to the music venue as well. 

And since music plays such a large role in the spot's daily operations, Register knew a concert would be a great way to raise money. Her friends volunteered to help, planning a concert series with surprise guests to take place at The Pinhook Jan. 27, 28 and Feb. 3 and 4. Tickets are $25 per night and $100 for a four-day pass.

Register was shocked when her musician friends offered to play a concert for free. However, the acts of kindness have not been limited to musicians—community businesses have reached out to offer their services as well.

“I didn’t want to ask my friends for favors, but I didn’t have to," Register said.

The community support has encouraged Register to give back to the community. Register said the fundraising has given her a lot of fire to keep going.

“I’m pretty in awe of how excited people are about the space staying here,” Register said. “We want to stay in order to be a place that serves back.” 

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