Live Nation, putting music in the Music Factory

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Live Nation, one of the country's largest music promotion companies, is coming to Charlotte.

Rick and Noah Lazes of the Ark Group, the development team behind the North Carolina Music Factory, made the announcement today.

“We now have Live Nation on board and they’re going to put the music in the Music Factory,” said Noah Lazes. “Live Nation is going to bring a 2,000-seat live music club from San Francisco called the Fillmore as well as operate the 5,000-seat outdoor boutique amphitheater.”

The Fillmore in San Francisco became legendary in the 1960s after holding concerts by The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Otis Redding, The Who and Cream. In 2008, Live Nation began to lease and operate the Fillmore and recently started a campaign to expand the Fillmore brand name by establishing clubs in other cities -- New York City (Fillmore at Irving Plaza), Denver (Fillmore Auditorium), Miami (Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theatre), Detroit (Fillmore Detroit) and Philadelphia (Fillmore at the TLA).

Rick Lazes said with the addition of Live Nation and the Fillmore night club, mid-level acts that would normally bypass the Queen City will be more likely to come and perform here.“These acts would normally bypass Charlotte because of the venue. You either went from a 600-800 seat club or to the arena. On the concert side, Verizon Amphitheatre is 18,000 seats, so if you’re a mid-level act you’re only going to sell 5,000 to 6,000 seats and you don’t want to play to an empty arena.”

The Lazes envision The N.C. Music Factory to become Charlotte’s version of Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta -- where Rick said the intimate outdoor music venue sells out before the acts are even announced every season.

“Live Nation is the biggest concert promoter in the world and they can just route talent through Charlotte now,” said Rick.

But the Lazes are being realistic about this new venture with Live Nation. “With anything new, it’s a building process. It’s going to take some time to develop that clientèle. But the level of talent that we’re going to bring here is going to make concerts more desirable to come see,” said Noah.

And concerts aren’t the only thing that entertainment seekers will be able to get at the factory. Along with Live Nation, the Lazes have gotten some marquee clubs and restaurants to set up shop in the Q.C. Butter from New York is coming. (“Straight from the pages of People magazine,” said Noah Lazes.) Wet Willie’s, a popular restaurant and bar across the Southeast, is also coming.

“All of these places are owned and operated by the real people,” said Noah.

The ultimate goal of the N.C. Music Factory, according to Noah, is to turn Charlotte into a destination city, much like Atlanta where people will get in their cars and just drive into town to spend the weekend.

(Written by Cheris Hodges. Additional reporting by Jeff Hahne)

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