Agora operator Chris Zitterbart (left) and AEG Presents CEO Shawn Trell
Earlier today, Agora Theatre and Ballroom Operator Chris Zitterbart, AEG Presents Chief Operating Officer Shawn Trell and City of Cleveland Councilman TJ Dow met with reporters at the Agora Theatre and Ballroom to announce that AEG Presents, one of the country’s largest concert promoters, has entered into an agreement with Zitterbart and the Agora to begin booking concerts as well as private events at the venue.
Trell told reporters he was “happy, privileged and pleased” to announce what he called a “co-ownership” of the venue and promised improvements to the venue would result in an "uptick" in the number of concerts the venue hosts.
Dow called the agreement a “breath of fresh air” that would complement changes in Midtown, which will soon have a grocery store. “It’s a great thing not only for this community but for the city of Cleveland,” he said.
Zitterbart, who began booking shows at the venue in 2013, said he hopes to create more great “memories and experiences” for local music fans.
Trell acknowledged that Live Nation, the country’s other giant concert promoter, has dominated the local market for decades but said he considers the Agora to be the “right room for AEG” and said that Zitterbart was “the right partner.”
“I don’t worry so much about what [the competition is] doing,” he said in relation to a question about how he expects to compete in an already competitive market.
Today at noon, the Agora Theatre will hold a press conference to announce an agreement with AEG Presents, LLC, a company that bills itself as a “global leader in concert promotion and venue management.”
The company has entered into an agreement with current operator Chris Zitterbart. AEG Presents currently operates 60 theaters and clubs throughout the country.
The company produces, which promotes or books nearly 10,000 events worldwide, plans to “invest capital” in the historic theatre and will oversee upgrades to the acoustics, lighting and sound systems. It will upgrade the hospitality spaces, dressing rooms and guest amenities.
“Given its history and the litany of legendary acts that have played the room, the Agora has been the heart and soul of Cleveland’s live music scene for the past 50 years," says Shawn Trell, Chief Operating Officer of AEG Presents in a press release. "It’s a truly unique concert venue and we look forward to bringing a wide array of artists to the live music loving city of Cleveland,”
Since the theater, which has a capacity of 2000 in its main hall and 600 in its ballroom, openeed in the 1960s, it has hosted acts such as Bruce Springsteen, U2, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, the Clash, Duran Duran and ZZ Top.
“The opportunity to work with AEG Presents and to have them enter the Cleveland music scene is significant," says Chris Zitterbart, operator of the Agora Theatre for the past four years. "They represent the best of having not only the resources necessary to grow the business, but because they also remain independently and privately owned they can afford to be patient and do things the right way. That combination bodes well for the future of the Agora Theatre and the types of shows they will bring to this market.”