After a string of last-minute cancellations over the last few weeks, the future of Stage on Bay is unclear, but not looking good.

The 1,000 person, mid-capacity live music venue, which opened in March of last year, announced Aug. 21 on their Facebook page they have “temporarily suspended its present operations and will make a final announcement on its future shortly.”

Owner Charles Schmitt says he will make a formal announcement next week concerning the future of the venue, but as of now they are not scheduling new shows. Schmitt, the venue’s manager, is one of three investors in the business.

“Probably preparing to go out of business,” Schmitt said in a telephone interview. “We’re analyzing whether or not it’s worth staying in business. It takes a while to speak with all of the agents in the bands. So what we’ve done is taken [future concerts] off sale for the moment while we have our conversations with the respective agents and talent. We’ve not made a decision yet, but I have a pretty good idea what that decision is going to be.”

The original closure statement came at the end of a public announcement on the venue’s Facebook page announcing the cancellation of the Aug. 21 Fuel and Soul Asylum show. On Aug. 15, they publicly announced the Dorothy concert that evening was canceled. On Aug. 9, they publicly announced Gin Blossoms was canceled.

Schmitt said ticket holders had received news from Ticketfly before the public statements about cancellations and refunds had been issued. Although some patrons have complained in Facebook comments about not receiving refunds, Schmitt says all ticket holders, that he is aware of, have received refunds for the canceled shows.

“We’ve posted those cancellations on Facebook to show that if you tried to buy a ticket, the shows were off sale,” Schmitt said. “In each instance, Ticketfly sent an email to the ticket purchases saying the show had been canceled and your ticket money will be refunded automatically.

“We’ve refunded everyone that we know about. I’ve had a couple of people call me because they bought tickets at the box office. I just have them send me the ticket number. We cut a check or send it off to Ticketfly. It hits a different part of the Ticketfly system.”

Stage on Bay got off to a rough start in January 2017 when they were forced to cancel their grand opening after the city of Savannah voted 8-1 to postpone issuing a liquor license for a two-week period. The vote came after residents in the area complained about the possibility of additional noise, parking and traffic issues. The Marshall Tucker Band was set to kick off the venue’s opening. The show was moved to the Lucas Theatre.

After a public back and forth with the city, which included the threat of a lawsuit, Stage on Bay was granted a liquor license. They opened in March of 2017. Hurricane Irma put another financial dent in the young business, forcing them to cancel several shows in September of last year.

“We were dealt some harsh blows from the beginning, starting with the liquor license controversy, which slowed things down and cost additional funds,” Schmitt said. “Any time you’re trying to ramp up in a new market, it’s expensive. For whatever reason. The one question we never asked that we should have asked is, why isn’t there a venue of our size in the market to begin with?”

A fickle Savannah market, according to Schmitt, might be part of the issue.

“On paper, it’s a great market,” Schmitt said. “On paper, It looks like it should be a winner. We had Bret Michaels from Poison. Bret Michaels is probably one of the best rock stars of the '80s and '90s, from his VH1 series on "Rock of Love" to his work as lead singer of Poison. I thought for sure, that would be a sell out or near a sell out. It did just near 600 people.

“We brought in Scotty McCreery. He won American Idol. We got very lucky. We had him booked two weeks after his newest single, “Five More Minutes,” went No. 1 nationwide. It was No. 1 on the Billboard Country Charts. His album at the time was No. 1 on the Billboard Country Charts. We did under 600 people. That makes you look and say, obviously, something is not clicking. I am not going to get into criticizing Savannah. I am telling the music side of it, like it is.”