COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Yalan Papillons awoke Tuesday morning to soul-crushing news: The indie music venue she’s owned since 2010 had been robbed of $17,000 in assets.
Double Happiness, an “off-the-beaten-path” dive bar in the Brewery District, has opened its doors to an eclectic mix of up-and-coming artists – including a 2013 opening act by hip-hop singer Lizzo before her rise to stardom, Papillons said.
On Tuesday morning, Papillons got a call from Double Happiness’ sound manager, who arrived at the venue’s entrance on the 400 block of South Front Street after a neighbor informed them the door was ajar.
“He didn’t even want to tell me how bad it was because he knew it would devastate me,” Papillons said. “I couldn’t get it together to go there, you know?”
After witnessing the damage – the theft of the venue’s sound board and speaker system, worth a combined $14,000, along with backup liquor, cash and about 20 cases of hard seltzer – Papillons said she didn’t have much choice but to launch a GoFundMe to keep Double Happiness afloat.
The livelihood of Double Happiness, she said, depends on the venue’s sound system. Without it, it wouldn’t be possible to host a range of musical artists, from indie pop band Japanese Breakfast to noise rock duo Lightning Bolt, three to five days a week.
Despite the “heartbreaking” breaking-and-entering at Double Happiness that forced Papillons to move a planned event on Friday elsewhere, she said the outpouring of support from the Columbus community has helped boost her spirits. Nearly $8,000 was raised for the venue in just two days.
“A couple of other people called and said they have speakers left,” she said. “It’s been overwhelmingly amazing, you know, all the things I’ve done for people is coming back to me.”
In the meantime, as Columbus police investigate the robbery, Papillons said she can only hope that Double Happiness, “a bar that looks like a Chinese restaurant that doesn’t serve Chinese food,” can continue to serve its regular crowd and newcomers alike.
“Over the years, we’ve broken a lot of bands like Lizzo, and just being able to be a platform for the community and local bands to get up and national acts to do their first shows here … We don’t sell Budweiser; we’re a totally different thing,” she said. “We’re trying to make everybody reach outside the box and explore different things.”
“We just really want our equipment back.”
Papillons encouraged anyone with information about the theft or those who wish to donate to visit Double Happiness on Facebook.