The same week that its rival promoter AEG Presents revealed millions of dollars of improvements to the Agora Theatre, Live Nation Club & Theatre, a division of Live Nation, has announced that it will start booking shows at the Masonic Auditorium.
Located in Midtown, the Masonic is literally walking distance from the Agora Theatre and will ratchet up the competition for bands that could fill either venue (both places feature rooms with capacities of approximately 2000).
The Masonic will become part of Live Nation “portfolio” of venues that includes House of Blues, Jacobs Pavilion and Blossom Music Center.
The press release announcing the partnership between Live Nation and the Masonic’s current owners, TempleLive, says that a new fall schedule with dates starting as soon as November (when renovations are scheduled to be completed) will be released shortly.
Live Nation Club & Theatre operates and books "landmark clubs and theaters" throughout the country. The company produces more than 15,000 events (concerts, special events, private event rentals, club nights and more) in 100 venues nationwide.
“The Masonic was the next logical move for us in Cleveland. It is a vibrant music market with a very large population base that we think is underserved at the theater level,” says Ben Weeden, COO of Live Nation Club & Theatre division, which will oversee the Masonic, in a press release. “We look forward to establishing the Masonic as the must-play, 2,000-capacity venue in Cleveland.”
“We are proud to have the Masonic Auditorium as part of Live Nation’s portfolio of properties,” adds Mike Brown of TempleLive. “This agreement with Live Nation will enhance the concertgoers experience at the Masonic, while propelling Cleveland more aggressively into this very competitive music market.”
Built in 1921, the Masonic Temple Auditorium was originally home to the Cleveland Orchestra. Within the past five or so years, the venue has hosted concerts by acts such as MGMT, Bastille, Fitz and the Tantrums, the 1975, Pixies, Kirk Franklin, Ghost, Leon Bridges and Sturgill Simpson.
“Creating great fan experiences with great musical performers is something we work very hard at,” says Weeden. “The Masonic Auditorium is an amazing venue with an extraordinary history. Its future is going to be even brighter.”
Dan Kemer, a former Clevelander who now works in Indianapolis where he oversees Live Nation venues throughout the Midwest, describes the room as "a great space."
"We are happy to start booking shows there," he says, adding that Live Nation will announce its first concert at the venue on Monday. "I like the location and that it's so close to Cleveland State University and Playhouse Square."