Once Again to the Ridglea

15
Posted August 1, 2013 by HEARSAY in Music
The Ridglea Theater is back againThe Ridglea Theater is back again

Ridglea Theater is back. Again. A grand reopening of the Ridglea Club, Ridglea Lounge, and the 1,400-capacity theater is scheduled for September, according to the camp of Jerry Shults, owner of The Gas Pipe, a Southwestern chain of smoke shops, who bought the complex in 2010, effectively saving it from demolition.

The Ridglea has hosted several music shows intermittently over the past months but is still not finished, Shults said. His construction to-do list is daunting. It includes connecting the theater directly to the new club and lounge, finishing all of the green rooms and the club/catering/restaurant area, adding bathrooms, and redoing the lighting and striping of the new rear parking lot. Shults said the timing is right for the reopening because the types of bands he intends to book –– “nationals” –– spend their summers playing festivals instead of indoor theaters.

Shults, though, has yet to begin booking entertainment for the reopening, which is just another reason why “Ridglea Theater” has nearly become synonymous with “drama” over the years, dating back to before Shults entered the picture.

The venue has been there for decades, always part of the scene, but was never really there. In its latter days it was the only place in town devoted to heavy metal. The metalheads loved it, sure, but the owners of nearby establishments? Not so much. The local music cognoscenti also saw the Ridglea’s metal fixation as one big, fat missed opportunity, arguing (and perhaps rightfully so) that a club as big and as beautiful as the Ridglea should have been bringing to Fort Worth the kinds of hip, cool, progressive indie-rock bands that regularly pack Granada Theater in Dallas. And at least one politician thought the Ridglea would make a fine bank.

Shults’ takeover was greeted with joy. Initially. An ensuing battle over parking, settled only a couple of months ago, wiped out the giddiness. Shults always argued that he’d have more than enough parking. Now that he has more than more than enough, the only thing between a September to remember and a lost September is the shaky prospect for a grand reopening.

As someone who’s been writing about popular music and jazz for more than 20 years and who’s been writing about Fort Worth music for about half that time, allow me to offer my two cents. Ridglea people, please don’t book any genre music (country, hip-hop, metal) –– it’s too polarizing, especially for what amounts to a rebranding campaign. Book something middle of the road yet undeniably hip (and yet still relatively affordable): The Flaming Lips, Phoenix, Peter Bjorn and John, Eleanor Friedberger, Portugal. The Man, Snow Patrol, the list goes on.

And don’t forget that Fort Worth is a local music town. If you want people to see some almost-famous touring act, you’re gonna have to pack your bill with Fort Worth openers. The list of possibilities: Burning Hotels, Quaker City Night Hawks, Fungi Girls, Calhoun, Telegraph Canyon, The Unlikely Candidates, The Hanna Barbarians, Secret Ghost Champion, Ice Eater, The Longshots, Siberian Traps, Skeleton Coast, and, no bullshit, dozens more. Heck, just read our 2013 Music Awards issue. Good luck. The city’s counting on you.

Contact HearSay at hearsay@fwweekly.com.


15 Comments


  1.  

    is it smoke/Benzene free?




  2.  
    Ghost of Ridglea Theater

    Jerry Shultz you are delusional. Put down the Pipe old man! Go check out Lakewood Theater and realize your shit out of luck.




  3.  
    Cassandra Mackie

    No Hip Hop, huh?




  4.  

    I hope it works out for him . I can think of a couple of bands I would like to see there , Orchid . Or maybe Sleigh Bells . Bring it !




  5.  
    DFW Mainstay

    I hope it works out, it was always a great venue to catch a show at. Really Ghost of Ridglea, more like the Troll of the Internet get a life.




  6.  
    Doug

    The list of possibilities: Burning Hotels, Quaker City Night Hawks, Fungi Girls, Calhoun, Telegraph Canyon, The Unlikely Candidates, The Hanna Barbarians, Secret Ghost Champion, Ice Eater, The Longshots, Siberian Traps, Skeleton Coast, and, no bullshit, dozens more.

    It would be great to see you mention a dozen other Fort worth bands besides those listed above for a change. We all know you love Burning Hotels, and The Hanna Barbarians, you manage to work them into every other column you write. There is alot of talent in this town, get out and see some new live music. You, of all people should be out seeing bands and staying currrent.
    Your column just smacks of favoritism to me most of the time. Which makes it more and more irrelevant.




  7.  
    Bigheadtodd

    This will never work, great idea, but wrong area. If Schultz is deep enough to operate this at a loss, then it’ll work. Much like Ed Bass running Caravan of Dreams, that was the finest small venue in Texas, and fought to break even. I hope Schultz hangs in there for at least a few yrs, we’ll enjoy it while it lasts.




  8.  
    SRV FAN

    This has taken way too long to materialize…. pretty good indicator as to how the “lounge”, “club”, “theater” or whatever it may be will also go…. Shouldn’t be this hard or take this long…. Man must have DEEP pockets. If he EVER dies get it off the ground please book TAB BENOIT, as I am tired of driving to Dallas & spending $$ in hotels to see him at Granada!!!




  9.  
    SRV FAN

    This has taken way too long to materialize…. pretty good indicator as to how the “lounge”, “club”, “theater” or whatever it may be will also go…. If he EVER does get it off the ground please book TAB BENOIT, as I am tired of driving to Dallas & spending $$ in hotels to see him at Granada!!!




  10.  
    SRV FAN

    This has taken way too long to materialize…. If he EVER does get it off the ground please book TAB BENOIT, as I am tired of driving to Dallas & spending $$ in hotels to see him at Granada!!!




  11.  
    Infected Fuck

    “Ridglea people, please don’t book any genre music (country, hip-hop, metal) –– it’s too polarizing, especially for what amounts to a rebranding campaign. Book something middle of the road yet undeniably hip (and yet still relatively affordable): The Flaming Lips, Phoenix, Peter Bjorn and John, Eleanor Friedberger, Portugal. The Man, Snow Patrol, the list goes on.”

    This guy wants Snow Patrol instead of metal to play at the Ridglea?




  12.  
    charles cook

    “And don’t forget that Fort Worth is a local music town. If you want people to see some almost-famous touring act, you’re gonna have to pack your bill with Fort Worth openers… We’re counting on you.”
    That should read, “Don’t forget, Fort Worth’s alternative paper is a local bands only paper. If you want any coverage you’re gonna have to pack your bill with FW openers. We’re counting on you, because we can’t count on the alternative paper.”
    (Or is the Weekly actually going to cover the out-of-town bands that play the Ridglea?)
    Ft. Worth is NOT just a local music town. FW music fans LOVE music from all over the place. It’s not the fans that are small-minded and insular.




  13.  
    Fred

    Ooh, maybe they can book local bands? Wow, I would really want to go there now!

    If they cannot book the kind of shows Granada and Southside Ballroom can book, what’s the point?

    I can see local bands all the time, and don’t get me wrong..it’s great. Why would I need yet another venue to go see local bands? I’d like FW to get more national acts…..please. And I am not talking about country…..Billy Bob’s has it covered….




  14.  

    I have seen many bands at the Ridglea over the years, both local and national, and I truly hope it continues to deliver both (my fave by far was the Toadies and I hope to see them there again some day). I would also like to see other rock genres in addition to metal.





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