Ridglea Gawn Country, Grand Re-Opening Set

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Posted December 21, 2010 by Anthony Mariani in Blotch

On Thu., Sept. 1, 2011, the Ridglea Theater will celebrate its grand re-opening. In the meantime, new owner Jerry Shults and his team will be remodeling the 1940s-era building to near its original condition, including restoring the terrazzo tile floor, restoring the upstairs balcony, returning the stage to its original position, installing a new “state-of-the-art” sound system, creating a 2,000-plus-square-foot green room, and restoring the 30-foot-high Spanish Conquistador murals. The 2,000-plus-capacity space’s current occupants, Wesley Hathaway and Richard Van Zandt, will relinquish control in March. Helming the theater’s entertainment and operations department will be Fort Worth’s Casey Mack, who studied under Fort Worth impresario Rick Smith in the early 2000s. (Smith passed away in 2004.) Mack worked on Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic (2004, 2005), more than 20 live album recordings, including Jack Ingram’s (2003), and albums by the Randy Rogers Band, Stoney LaRue, and Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Mack also was part of Chef Tim Love’s management team and was a marketing agent for the White Elephant Saloon, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Johnny Cooper, and the Tejas Brothers. In a statement, Mack said he wants to make the Ridglea “one of the classiest entertainment venues in the nation, with Grammy-level talent.” Mack also believes that the West Side has been “entertainment-starved for quite some time.” The Ridglea will present “a direct alternative,” even though he admits that “many great bars exist in Fort Worth to see up-and-coming Texas-based … talent.” But now “the best artists in American music will be playing in a historic theater in our own backyard, in what is the epicenter of the trendiest part of Fort Worth,” he said. “Get ready West-o-Plex. Your long drives and expensive nights in Dallas for nightly entertainment are over.”

 

For a taste of future sounds, Mack said, “Imagine a cross of a Bill Graham-run Fillmore, a trendy urban cocktail lounge, a celebrity chef-influenced 5-star concert-dining experience, and the world-class Fort Worth charm and sophistication that makes our city and its people stand apart from the rest.”

 

The re-opening lineup will be announced in April.

 

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13 Comments


  1.  
    Stan

    Will the green room be green?




  2.  
    Tim Cooley

    As a resident of the camp bowie area I commend this change in live music concept and the guy’s plans for the theater. Anything is better than what it currently is!

    Nothing will ruin your evening more than standing in line at the Exxon on the corner of Bryant Irvin and Camp Bowie with your 7 year old and you are swarmed by 10 pink & blue spiked hair metal heads with more piercings than sense, buying cigarettes and cussing every word they speak to each other

    From what I have read so far, this blight on the camp bowie district might be a thing of the past come next fall.




  3.  
    tim lane

    First of all those metal heads you speak of were majority of the public out cry when bank of Americas plans were announced! Second the blight you speak of is a well knit community of musicians and intellectuals that would most likely dwarf your I.q. by a vast number……and third ….I’m all for improving the ridglea….but the moment you cut out the local talent and primarily focus on mainstream acts you take away what the venue was about entirely!




  4.  
    HearSay

    I think the Ridglea’s going country is a bad move. Any marquee Texas Music artist is going to opt for Billy Bob’s first, anyway, and I haven’t heard anyone, a single person, really clamoring for more Texas Music outside of the Stockyards. What Fort Worth needs desperately is a mid-sized venue to host the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Peter, Bjorn & John, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Heartless Bastards, Helio Sequence, The Decemberists, and other significant indie-rock acts that are too big for Lola’s but too small for the convention center. The Ridglea could have been perfect. I really wish Shults would have consulted some cool, hip, young Fort Worthians (basically, me and some of my drinking buddies) before committing to country. Oh, well.




  5.  
    bubbers

    And dont’ forget that Billy Bob’s has a contract clause that prevents any of their artists from playing at another venue within 30 miles of that club.




  6.  
    HearSay

    Interesting. I wonder if there’s also a time element involved, a clause that says an artist who plays Billy Bob’s can’t play play anywhere else within a certain amount of time, like, a month or so. In other words, if he or she plays Billy Bob’s on March 15, he/she can’t play anywhere in North Texas (or within 30 miles of Billy Bob’s) until APRIL 15 (or later). Anyway, bubbers, thanks for helping drive home the point that the Ridglea shouldn’t be committing exclusively to Texas Music.




  7.  
    Jay

    Exactly where does it say the Ridglea is “going country”??
    I can guarantee you they are not trying to be the next Billy Bob’s…from what I’ve heard and know about those involved is that they are aiming to be Fort Worth’s answer to Granada Theater in Dallas.
    All types of bands will play there…not just one genre.
    I swear, sometimes you guys need to do just a little research before you jump to conclusions….
    How about just one email or call to ask the question if they are “going country”??
    Trust me…this is a GREAT thing for Fort Worth.




  8.  
    Anthony

    The “Gawn Country” in the title refers mainly to the hiring of country boy Mack, not necessarily that the Ridglea will be devoted only to country music (though HearSay may believe otherwise). I’ve spoken with Shults and was told that the Ridglea will be open to music of every genre, though I have to say that the hiring of a Texas Music industry insider doesn’t bode well for future musical diversity at the venue. I think you can forgive a person for jumping to conclusions in this case. Bottom line: Let’s hope the Ridglea is as fantastic and diverse as the Granada.




  9.  
    Sarcastically Outraged

    @Tim Cooley. Not being a homogenous lump of a town is what makes Fort Worth great. It takes all kinds. I’m pretty sure there are more family friendly Exxon’s out there… It’ll be nice to have a big classy joint for touring bands. We’ve got loads of great local clubs for up and comers, but back when the Ridglea was having Fugazi or The Melvins coming through town were the times I like best.




  10.  
    bubbers

    @Tim: I’ll bet your kid enjoyed seeing the punkers at the gas station. You take him to a zoo don’t you? He likes seeing the strange animals, right?




  11.  
    Bobby

    This is one of the most important decisions in Fort Worth art history..Turning the Ridglea into a more legitimate venue is very essential to the Tarrant community, but being exclusive to only one genre will be the demise of it. I am really excited to see what pans out here in the next few months! I hate saying this but yes, lets all take a look at The Granada, a venue flourishing with diverse content and amazing crowd pulls. Tickets are reasonable, and many shows sell out. The weekly named it best venue like every year correct? Come on guys lets push for what we know is needed! This is the chance to really make our city a well respected stop by so many artists. Lets do this guys!!!




  12.  
    Anthony

    Your points are well taken, Bobby. But a correction: We never named the Granada best venue. What you may be thinking of is that the Ridglea Theater won the popular vote in our annual Music Awards for best venue several times. Anyway, I agree with you that any sort of favoritism toward one genre, especially country, would be disastrous.




  13.  
    betsy baker

    For all of you heavy metal rockers who think hitting 2 or 3 notes and screaming is music – stay in Dallas and see them at the Granada. Fort Worth is about cowboys and that’s that. There is plenty of music available in other places and I’m sure you can always go underground to find what you like. The people who live in the Ridglea area are sick of the drugs, booze and craziness that comes from the current venue.





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