I don’t know much about Irving, except that it lies somewhere between here and Big D and that other than maybe having a place to sleep and park your car, why would anyone want to go there?
Now there’s an infinite number of reasons, starting on Sep 1 with comedian Dave Chappelle and continuing the next night with Brad Paisley, followed by The Goo Goo Dolls (Sep 6), Young the Giant with Cold War Kids and Joywave (Sep 29), Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows (Oct 1), Scorpions and Megadeth (Oct 12), and comedian Trevor Noah (Nov 11).
These acts are just some of the mid-to-major names slated to play Irving’s new Pavilion. A 250,000-square-foot venue that’s part of The Music Factory, a 17-acre $173 million mixed use development, the Pavilion will not only be “stealing” hard-earned American dollars from Fort Worthians (and presumably Dallasites and other out-of-towners) but also stealing (actually) Fort Worth’s thunder.
For decades, we’ve been told that a mid-sized venue would never work in Fort Worth. “Big bands will always choose Dallas over us!” “If a band plays here, then they can’t play Dallas because of radius clauses, and no band is going to do that!” “There’s no room to build a mid-sized venue!” You’ve probably heard the excuses, too. You also probably want to ask every person who’s used them, “Where the heck did this Irving Music Factory and Pavilion come from then?!”
We can’t say we didn’t see it coming. Irving bought the land in 2001. And the path from that purchase to the finish out has been a slog of newsy, Moncrief-ian proportions. After a deal between the original developer, Las Colinas Group, and Irving soured, Las Colinas Group sued the city for $39 million, and some Irving councilmembers had the temerity to ask the current developer, North Carolina-based ARK Group, to pay the Las Colinas Group to drop its case. (A judge eventually dismissed it.) Not long after ARK got started, it was stopped by its lender, which brought up the problem with earthquakes (undoubtedly caused by hydraulic fracking). ARK asked Irving to change their agreement to please the lender, but the city balked, forcing ARK to halt construction for months. (The issue was eventually resolved in 2015.)
Even Irvingians – “Irvingers”? “Irvingites”? – can agree that when it comes to big-city living, they’ve got nothing on us. Any world-class museums, Irving? We have three. How about a Division I football program? A symphony orchestra? A ballet company? An opera company? No? That’s too bad. We’ve got all four, and they’re all yoooge. And don’t even get started on music. As Fort Worth’s scene is equal to or beyond Dallas’ or even Houston’s, I can’t recall ever seeing a non-nu-metal, non-metalcore band list Irving as its hometown. Cliché lovers joke that Fort Worth is just a big suburb of Big D. But for Irvingians/Irvingers, it’s not funny. They actually live in Dallas County. They are a living, breathing suburb of a bigger city.
Being outdone by a lousy suburb. How’s that feel, Fort Worth? It’s got to sting a little bit. I know it hurts me.
One of the coolest things about the Pavilion is the complex itself. It can be either indoors or out- and can change capacity, from 2,500 to 4,000 and 8,000.
One of the coolest things about the entire factory is that it’s part of a larger effort to not only attract out-of-towners to Irving but keep them there. Along with dozens of shops and chain restaurants, several hotels will also be popping up nearby, all accompanying the newish (2011) Irving Convention Center right across Highway 114. A McDevelopment? So what. Would you rather have what Irving has now or our major project, the Trinity River Vision, a $909.9 million series of riverside improvements which, to me, sounds suspiciously like a bunch of nice things for fitness goofs and nature buffs. That’s why God created Inursha and Insanity, people. That’s why God created BRIT and the Fort Worth Nature Center & Reserve.
“Irving,” said ARK president Noah Lazes, “needs a project like this to compete with Uptown, Frisco, and Fort Worth.”
You mean “to blow Fort Worth out of the water,” dude. Literally.