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Sold-out crowds sustain an upgraded Cactus Theater as it awaits Shuttered Venues grant funding

The Cactus Theater reopens with upgrades and renovations.
The Cactus Theater reopens with upgrades and renovations.(Source: KCBD)
Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 5:31 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:04 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The Cactus Theater is among thousands of venues across the country eagerly awaiting funds from the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant. The owner said he’s grateful for the community that’s filled the theater’s new seats and kept it in business.

“The Cactus is a historic venue, probably one of the most recognized landmarks in Lubbock,” Darryl Holland said. “We knew we had to keep it going. That’s my passion and commitment. It was never a question whether we’d keep it going, it was just how.”

The American Rescue Plan dedicated $16 billion to venues and their operators hit hard by the pandemic. A portal for applications opened in late April which saw 14,638 submissions. As of June 28, according to the Small Business Administration, 2,390 had been awarded a total of $720 million.

A bipartisan group of United States Senators sent a letter to the SBA in mid-June questioning the slow process.

“We actually have been notified that our grant has been confirmed,” Holland said. “It still has not been dispersed. Without the shows back and the generating revenue, we’ve had some sponsors come on board, the insurance folks have helped with some of this, we’re still working on that as well. It’s been a slow rebuilding, reenergizing process.”

Holland said eight out of 13 of the Cactus’ shows have had sold-out crowds. He’s grateful those crowds have come to enjoy upgrades and renovations along with the shows.

During the pandemic and after the theater suffered burst pipes in February, everything from the flooring to the ceiling has been replaced.

“Everywhere that I look, I try to see little places to improve it, tweak it, add to it, while maintaining the historical significance and bring some creature comforts to historic building,” Holland said. “You have that perfect mix, I think of programming, amenities, history and nostalgia. You’re always moving forward and onward and upward, as they say.”

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