Jessalyn Aaland, who started booking shows for the Ché Café collective in 2001, left for San Francisco at the end of February. Andrew Caddick, who shared the majority of booking duties with Aaland, moved to Portland late last year.
Aaland says, "I really feel like San Diego is just not interested in new music, particularly more experimental music, so pretty much it's the same 10 to 15 people that come out to see the same three to five opening bands. When we get over 20 [people], that's a good night. Lately, making enough to actually take in money for the Ché is like a feat in itself. We do have overhead costs!"
Booking the Ché is an unpaid venture, "apart from the benefits of meeting cool friends in different places and occasionally getting free records or snacks," according to Aaland. Anyone who participates in the collective can book shows.
Aaland says when people complain, "The Ché never does [X] kind of show, I tell them, 'Hey, then you should get involved and set them up,' which is exactly what I did.... There have been many times where I know that if I personally don't do an event, it won't be able to happen."
That urgency has increased, given the fact that the Voltaire space and Gelato Vero Caffe have been forced to scale back shows because of noise complaints. Scolari's Office, which is not all ages, has also cut back, offering shows only on weekends.
Meanwhile, four Ché collective members have stepped up to book the venue. Aaland says this should lead to an increase in shows.
"The four contacts I sent out to everybody are the four people whose interests I feel overlap with mine, but there are still others beyond them who do all kinds of different things."