Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson, co-owner of Unplugged, will host the bar and live music venue’s fourth anniversary at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22.

Four years have gone by fast for Jason Johnson and the staff of Unplugged, a local acoustic bar and music venue.

To celebrate, it wanted to combine two loves: music and pets. It will host the “Mardi Paws” fundraiser for the Friends of the Animal Shelter, with all proceeds going toward funding for its new animal shelter and medical expenses for adopted animals.

“When people are going to try and adopt an animal, the last thing they want to do is get one that’s going to cost them $400 or $500 right off the bat,” Johnson said.

To do that, the venue will host a night of music from some of Unplugged’s history and burlesque dancers, including Dakota North SideShow, Deatrice De La ‘Cour, Lily VonTanic, Tim Leland, Alek Young, John Mackey and Almost Enemies. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“We’ve got a little burlesque teaser, and the music being played for the burlesque is going to be live music, no tracks,” Johnson, the co-owner of Unplugged, said.

To get to the anniversary, Johnson said Unplugged’s had to have its share of challenges, disappointments and triumphs.

“It’s come with a lot of lessons learned, as well as things that had been expected. It’s been amazing,” Johnson said.

Taking over the venue, which formerly housed Cafe Acoustic, started by Lisa Hancock and the late Beth Downey, and later operated by Steve and Christina Grimes, Johnson brought it back to its acoustic roots, requiring all performers to play acoustic instruments.

“It’s been an honor trying to blend what I thought was the best of the two into one and bringing back the acoustic vibe. It set us apart from the other venues in town,” he said.

To be able to deliver the concerts of Johnson’s dreams, from giving young performers their first taste of the stage to doing its annual Christmas show, has been a pleasure.

“The magic has been here since way before I was here. To try and keep that going was the biggest thing. I feel sure it’s going on, in spite of me,” he said laughing.

There is a $5 cover. The concert is open to everyone 21 and older.

Andrew Gaug can be reached

at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug