Imagine Dragons fundraises money to rescue iconic Provo music venue from closure

A fundraising campaign, aided by bands and a bank, pays off Velour’s mortgage.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Dan Reynolds and Imagine Dragons playing at Club Velour in Provo in 2015. Reynolds helped announce, on Thursday, May 12, 2022, that the club's mortgage has been paid in full.

After being on the verge of financial collapse because of COVID-19 closures, Provo’s iconic Velour Live Music Gallery has been saved — with the help of some of its most famous alumni.

Dan Reynolds, lead singer and songwriter for the band Imagine Dragons, and Nick Whiting, region president for Zions Bank, announced Thursday at Velour’s 16th anniversary concert that the club’s mortgage has been paid off. Reynolds and Whiting presented owner Corey Fox with a framed mortgage promissory note, with “paid in full” stamped on it in red.

Reynolds and his Imagine Dragons bandmates heard in early 2021 that Fox was struggling to make mortgage payments on the building, at 135 N. University Ave. in Provo. The band started the “Free the Fox” campaign last June, at the Fork Fest Music Festival in American Fork, encouraging music fans to donate through Venmo or drop cash in buckets at the event. Zions Bank offered to match the funds raised in the campaign, up to $50,000.

(Zions Bank) Corey Fox, center, owner of Provo's Club Velour, holds a mortgage promissory note — marked "paid in full" — presented by Dan Reynolds, left, lead singer and songwriter for the band Imagine Dragons, and Nick Whiting, region president at Zions Bank, at an event Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Later last summer, Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees — both of which got their start playing at Velour and other venues in the Provo club scene — live-streamed a benefit concert on YouTube.

“I don’t think we’d be a band were it not for Corey Fox and Velour,” Reynolds said at the event, according to a release from Zions Bank. “Corey has always believed in young artists and provided a refuge for them to be around other artists. This is the least we could do to help him through a challenging time.”

Reynolds made a surprise appearance at Thursday’s event, performing two songs, including the Imagine Dragons’ hit “Believer.” Also performing were The Devil Whale, Josiah Johnson and John White.

Whiting said his bank opted to support Fox because “Velour has done so much to help build a vibrant downtown and put Provo on the music map.”

Some of Velour’s financial struggles predate the pandemic. In late 2016, Fox received a life-saving kidney transplant — and his recovery, as he took anti-rejection drugs, required him to reduce exposure to crowds by limiting his time in the club. During the pandemic, the usually bustling club was empty, as public health restrictions kept crowds and bands away.

Reynolds is slated to be among the acts performing Saturday at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena, as part of the LoveLoud Festival to support LGBTQ+ youth and teens. The event, which Reynolds founded in 2017, starts at 4 p.m.; tickets are still available, at loveloudfest.org.

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