The 22 opened to provide a place for locals and all bands to play in. Unlike most venues that are owned by one person, The 22 is a community-run facility.
“The story behind The 22 is that it’s a bunch of guys who love music and who want to see it change the way people live,” said Dylan Hayward, guitarist in the band Revivalist. “So, we started our own place to bring all music together under one roof.”
Hayward and Vincent Tucker, local promoter and owner of Kzita Management Company, are credited with coming up with the idea for the community center.
The 22 is funded solely by donations and is a place where different types of music scenes come together in Abilene.
“Abilene may seem to be a culturally stagnant, crusted-over place upon first glance, but the recent development of an all-ages music venue and community center has shown the true heart of this Texas city’s burgeoning music scene,” Tucker said. “The 22, so named for its address, 2252 S. 14th St., right across from McMurry University, is a community space opened this past week by a group of local punk bands, specifically the bands Revivalist and We Live Like Thieves.”
Hayward had the idea for The 22 while driving by the space while it was for lease.
Hayward then contacted Tanner Coker, drummer for Revivalist, and Tucker, who had been booking many of the shows in the scene for over a year. All the members of the band and Tucker, who had the idea for an all-ages venue for a year, seemed to have the same vision for the community space and collectively worked together to make the dream a reality.
“Music is just the catalyst we chose to bring change to a generation,” Hayward said. “Find something you enjoy and see if you can find other people who enjoy the same thing. That’s how we will move forward as a human race. Love and progress.”
After conferring with the owners of local music hub, The Record Guys, they were ready to open The 22 for its first show. It was good timing that a touring band from California, Pullman Standard, had a gig drop out the previous night and met Eric Knighton, lead singer for We Live Like Thieves, at Whataburger. Knighton invited them to play the opening show, one that Standard said was one of the best on their tour.
“It feels amazing having it up and running,” Hayward said. “I truly believe that God wants to see a change in this outlet, along with every other positive and edifying-to-Jesus outlet there is. It just takes inspiration, vision, motivation and people who care to start a movement.”