‘TRANSFORMATIVE’ NEW MUSIC VENUE
Allure Nightlife will convert to a House of Blues affiliated business
Downtown Greensboro is about to get noisy.
This is a good thing. Early this week construction began to convert Allure Nightlife at 117 and 119 South Elm Street into a new music venue affiliated with the House of Blues.
The still unnamed venue is owned by Greater Greensboro Entertainment Group, which is presided over by Rocky Scarfone. Scarfone has sponsored and owned several nightclubs and restaurants in North Carolina over the years including The Ritz in Charlotte, and Allure and Ham’s Restaurant in Greensboro.
During a press conference on July 10, Scarfone pointed to his work ethic as a driving force behind his desire to embark on this new venture. “My dad always said, ‘Align yourself with the right people, have faith, and things will fall into place. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it,’” said Scarfone.
In the build up to the press conference, GGEG hinted that House of Blues would be involved. While the notoriety of the House of Blues name was repeatedly stressed, this new venue will not actually be a House of Blues. The acts for the venue will be booked exclusively by House of Blues, but it will not be an official House of Blues like the one in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The bookings for the venue will be handled by The Fillmore Charlotte Talent Buyer Grant Lyman, with the assistance of Senior Vice President of Booking for House of Blues Entertainment Jim Mallonee.
Grant has been with the Fillmore since its opening in 2009, and started booking talent for Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh in 2010. Mallonee has been with House of Blues Entertainment since 1997 and oversees booking for the entire Southeast network of venues.
“We’re very excited to be working with Rocky on this new venture,” said Mallonee. “It will be great for the Triad region of North Carolina. It will help us complete our portfolio of great venues in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast region.”
There are over 80 clubs owned by or affiliated with House of Blues Entertainment. Venues affiliated with House of Blues in North Carolina and South Carolina have seen popular acts that include B.B. King, Darius Rucker, Cyndi Lauper, Citizen Cope, Matisyahu, and Bone Thugs-N- Harmony.
The new venue has been endorsed by Downtown Greensboro Inc. along with Mayor Nancy Vaughan and city council members Zack Matheny and Mike Barber as part of ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown.
“When you think of Live Nation and the House of Blues, you immediately think about great live music, cool venues, and big cities,” said Vaughan. “It’s exciting that Greensboro is going to be part of this network of wonderful venues by the partnership established by Rocky Scarfone, President of Greater Greensboro Entertainment Group, and House of Blues Entertainment – a division of Live Nation, thus adding a welcome addition to the entertainment options coming to downtown Greensboro, truly making our downtown a place to be and be seen.”
“We are thrilled in Greensboro to have the number one entertainment provider in America coming to the finest mid-sized city in America,” said Barber.
A live music venue could drastically change the atmosphere downtown. Councilman Jamal Fox mentioned that during a City Council trip to Cleveland, Ohio, he found that the city had greatly benefited by the addition of their own House of Blues operated venue. “The people in Cleveland love it,” said Fox.
The focus on blues, pop and country acts would also attract a different demographic than the one that Allure has traditionally served. As a hiphop dance club, Allure was designed to appeal to the young, urban crowd while the new music venue would try to draw in an older suburban crowd.
Hopefully the venue will be enticing to everyone who loves music in Greensboro. DGI has worked to get people from outside neighborhoods to come to Elm Street. The City has even made parking free after 6 p.m. in City-owned decks downtown as an incentive for visitors.
So far, there haven’t been concerns about parking availability downtown. The City is confident that current parking amenities should be able to accommodate all of the potential attendees of the new venue.
Current plans for the venue state that two options have been considered. One option would be to have general standing admission with a capacity of 500 people with an additional 350 reserved seats. The other option would be to have a total of 525 seats.
DGI President and CEO Jason Cannon is enthusiastic about the impact of the new venue. “We are delighted that House of Blues Entertainment has partnered with local businessman Rocky Scarfone and selected Downtown Greensboro to expand its offerings,” said Cannon. “Our downtown is in the midst of a renaissance and this entertainment addition pairs extraordinarily well with the many transformative projects now underway in the center city.”
GGEG says that they expect to complete the venue by the end of November. GGEG says that while no acts have been booked yet, they want to start off with “something big.” !