The first concerts arrive this week at the East End, the former Goodyear headquarters in Akron.
The Goodyear Theater will open its doors Wednesday with the touring version of Kidz Bop, the compilation series of kid-friendly versions of current pop songs that has sold more than 16 million copies since its 2001 debut.
The lineup matures a few days later with two 1990s alt-rock titans: The Grammy-winning Smashing Pumpkins will bring their “acoustic-electro” Plainsong Tour to the theater Friday, along with singer/songwriter Liz Phair, who is making her first full tour of the United States in six years.
The following day, Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw will perform. On May 12, country singer Josh Turner will perform, and singer-songwriter Jason Isbell will bring music from his critically acclaimed catalog, including his latest, Something More Than Free, to the theater stage on June 4.
Los Angeles folk-rock quartet Dawes takes the stage July 20 and the tribute band Australian Pink Floyd will come to the heart of Akron from down under Aug. 11. Tickets for Goodyear Theatre and Hall shows are available at ticketfly. com. Go to www.goodyeartheater.com or call 216- 696-7776 for more information.
The Kidz Bop show, which was a free ticket with a promo code, will be a “soft opening,” allowing management and staff to get a sense of the foot traffic flow and to do a solid test of audio and visual equipment and facilities before adult bands with gear and complex green room requirements perform and alcohol-imbibing fans start filling the seats.
The long-term goal is to book at least 150 concerts annually at the Goodyear Theater and Goodyear Hall in the East Market Street complex. The venues, which date back to 1920, have been renovated as part of the East End redevelopment project that was part of creating new world headquarters for Goodyear.
Goodyear Theater has been completely renovated and seats 1,458 while Goodyear Hall, the old gymnasium, has been lightly updated and holds 3,500. That’s expected to attract smaller national touring bands and local performers with larger dedicated fan bases whose draw falls between the 2,582-seat Akron Civic Theatre and E.J. Thomas Hall’s 2,955 seats.
The concerts are booked by East End Promotions, an entertainment subsidiary of partners Industrial Realty Group and Industrial Commercial Properties, which teamed up with the Cleveland-based Elevation Group.
The East End is a 5.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use redevelopment of the former Goodyear headquarters campus. It includes the East End Residence Loft Apartments, office space and the Hilton Garden Inn. Restaurants, retail and more are planned.
Elevation plans to book a wide variety of entertainment, including rock, alternative, pop, country, EDM, R&B, orchestral, choral, family and comedy shows.
The theater is part of the original Goodyear Hall, built for its workers and families in 1919 for $2.5 million. Its original intent was for the complex to be a recreation and school building for its employees. It had a gym and the theater.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.