#KeepJaxLive: The story of Jack Rabbits and JaxLive

For over 20 years, Anne Wind has been hosting live music at Jack Rabbits while her husband Tim Hall books shows across the First Coast through JaxLive. In the age of COVID-19, the folks behind Northeast Florida's oldest small-scale music venue are looking for help to keep the music alive.

The next big show

When asked about his favorites among the thousands of shows he’s booked over the years, Tim Hall of the Jacksonville concert promotion company JaxLive likes to talk about the ones still to come. His enthusiasm hasn’t waned, but in the age of global shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he’ll need a little help getting to that next show.

On May 5, 2020, Hall and his wife Anne Wind, owner of San Marco venue Jack Rabbits, started a GoFundMe where music fans can donate to help the businesses through the transition period. In the meantime, it’s worth a look back at what they’ve done for Jacksonville’s music scene over the last two decades.

Behind the Music

Ruston Kelly at Jack Rabbits on February 18, 2020.

Tim Hall’s long history in the music business began in the 1980s in Southern California. He started booking shows in 1987 in the San Diego area, beginning with local gigs for local bands before transitioning into more prominent clubs. In 1998 Hall relocated to Jacksonville, his wife Anne Wind’s hometown, and he quickly brought his experience to bear on the local scene.

Hall had a successful first booking with a show by the California swing revival band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Murray Hill’s Fat Kat Music Hall. Hall promoted this show entirely through traditional street advertising – there was no money for print or radio ads, and social media was still years away. Other early shows included 90’s stalwarts like Ozomatli, Seven Mary Three, and U.S. Bombs.

Built to Spill at Jack Rabbits on October 9, 2019.

In 1999, Anne Wind opened Jack Rabbits on what was then a mostly forgotten stretch of Hendricks Avenue, two blocks north of San Marco Square. A third generation business owner, Wind learned much from her grandfather L.E. Wind, who owned a radio repair clinic called Tune Spot and later Wind’s Lamps in San Marco from the 1950s through the 1980s. Jack Rabbits took over an unassuming commercial building first constructed in 1941, which had recently been vacated by a tavern known as Izzitz. At the time, their neighbors were a school for sheet metal workers and a vacant storefront used for storage.

Aside from the convenience store down the street, they were the only business on the block, and the only place open at night for several blocks around. A few months after opening, they received a visit from JSO. “At first we were worried,” said Wind. “But they just wanted to let us know that since we’d opened and started to draw people to the area, crime had dropped considerably. They were thanking us.”

Anne Wind’s grandfather owned Tune Spot, a radio repair clinic in San Marco.

Jack Rabbits’ first show was a sellout by Gainesville rockers Big Sky, sometime in February 1999; the actual date is lost to history. Hall continued to book shows, and in 2005 he launched JaxLive.com, selling tickets for Jack Rabbits as well as the old Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach. Today, JaxLive sells tickets for Jack Rabbits and Downtown’s 1904 Music Hall, and periodically books for larger venues including the St. Augustine Amphitheater.

Jack Rabbits and JaxLive survived a decline in the music touring business following the September 11 attacks in 2001. The closure of other popular venues and clubs of the day like Fat Kat, the Milk Bar, the Art Bar and Freebird Live over the years have left Jack Rabbits as the oldest music venue of its size in Jacksonville. In fact, according to Hall, it’s one of the oldest anywhere in the Southeast.

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