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The 540 Club was located in the Quadrangle in Jeffersonville, Indiana (across the river from Louisville). It existed from very late 1998-1999, when the Fire Marshall shut the place down. (This is incorrect. The Fire Marshall did close the club on a temporary status after the article ran. However, he was willing to work with us to help get all the necessary permits to operate on a legal level. After much debate between those involved at this point with the operation of the club we decided not to pursue it and closed the club.)

The 540 was a group project with upwards of 10 people pitching in money to get the place started, and many of them took part in the day to day operation and renovations of the place.

During the 540 Fest in 1999, organizer Mike Harpring was interviewed by a reporter for LEO (Louisville's free weekly paper). The reporter decided he had better prospects with his story at the Courier Journal (Louisville's daily paper), and sold the story to them instead. When the story showed up on the front page of the Features section (with a blurb on the cover of the CJ), it started an avalanche of trouble for the venue. The mayor, landlord, and fire marshall had all seen this article, and thought that there may be thousands of kids at this show! At most, it probably would have been 400, but they combined forces, and shut down the 540 the first day of the fest. Everyone blamed Mike, but it wasn't his fault, he could have had no idea that the reporter wasn't giving the story to LEO (as he told Mike) or that so many people would get bent out of shape about it and shut the venue down. He probably didn't even know that the venue didn't have the right permits to be a venue. (More misinformation. Mike called me the day before the article ran. He asked me if it would be o.k. for the Courier to run the article. I explained to him in no uncertain terms that it was not wanted and that we had yet to secure the permits needed to be a legal club. We were in the process of raising the funds and completing the necessary renovations to obtain the permits. I told him flat out you do not advertise an illegal club on that level. The next morning I went into work and saw the article. Mike was also asked to join us for a club meeting to go over the details of how the show was to be handled considering we had not had a show of this size at the venue. He never showed up. So while it was our responsibility to obtain the permits needed to operate and our mistake to try and raise the funds needed by operating under the table at this point, Mike was responsible for the coverage and well aware of our legal status and that the article was to run in the Courier and not the Leo.)

People involved:

Newspaper Clippings:

Bands to play there:

Out Of Town Bands:

  • Died at Birth
  • Thundermug
  • Isis
  • Cave In
  • Molotov Coctail
  • Discount
  • Ann Baretta

There was an also an art show. (This only applies to the "540 Fest".)