For almost 10 years, Konrad Keele has operated an all-ages venue for Utah’s punk, hardcore and Ska communities. Standing at about 6’ 2”, Keele dresses casually-not with studs and bristles- and speaks with a reserved, but confident tone. Since 2016, he has owned and operated The Beehive Social Club, located on 666 South and State Street. He seeks to empower his community and friends by providing access to music through his venues. Speaking of his own transformative experiences, Keele says, “I’ve been changed through music. My politics are directly affected by the bands I listen to — my diet, my habits, my whole lifestyle.”
Keele found his punk roots heavily influenced by The Clash. “I don’t know if I would have ever understood the spectrum of punk rock if it wasn’t for The Clash and Joe Strummer.” The Clash’s music talked of unity amongst races and classes, workers’ rights, anti-police brutality, and highlighting the struggles of hard living. “Punk is about community organizing, changing your environment around you, doing things positive or negative, doing things for your community,” says Keele. “
In 2010, Keele opened what would be the first of several incarnations of the Underground. “In 2010, in Salt Lake City, it was really hard to play shows as a punk band,” says Keele. “It wasn’t really a political move. I really just wanted to have a place for my band to play.”
The Underground in turn made way for The Beehive. The new site has a full kitchen, a third bathroom and an updated sound system. More importantly, it’s become an all-ages venue. “More than a concert hall, we’ve created a community space.”
Having an all-ages venue has been a core foundation for Keele. He keenly remembers being the kid who had to stand outside a 21+ venue for three hours while trying to listen to his favorite bands. “All ages has always been really important to me,” says Keele. “I always decided that I would not play or participate in a venue that did not include everybody.“
Since opening its doors, The Beehive has hosted large acts such as Sham 69 and Creepshow, along with local bands such as Rade, Sad State of Society and All Systems Fail. However, if bands are not inclusive, they are not allowed to play at The Beehive. “We had a band that had some transphobic and homophobic lyrics and we told them they couldn’t play.”
The Beehive plays host to many other events apart from concerts. This venue is also home to Moth Closet. “It’s an all-inclusive queer dance party,” says Keele. “It’s a little different every time; they started doing drag performances. But it’s really catered to the under 21 queer community. It’s really hard to be queer in Salt Lake City and be under 21.”
In addition, The Beehive Social Club is home to Transgiving. According to Keele, “That’s an event we do every year for trans kids who get kicked out of their homes and don’t have a place to go on Thanksgiving.”
Over the last year, the venue has supported the Punk Rock Flea Market, which will make a return starting February 2019, and continue every other month. Soon, the Beehive will open a vegan diner called Mark of The Beastro. At Mark of The Beastro anyone can eat the food offered and not feel restricted due to dietary concerns. “A vegan diner is important to me politically. Anyone can eat this food,” Keele says.
The future for the Beehive looks bright. With Mark of The Beastro opening its doors and constant booking of performances, Keele’s mission to keep the punk ethos alive for the next generation looks promising. “It’s going to be long time before I see results in that aspect, but I’m in it for the long game. Change rarely happens quickly, especially the change I want.”
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