Singer-songwriter Sarah Jaffe serenaded a crowd of craft beer-sipping food hall patrons under violet hues and an LED screen flashing static visual art Friday night in Plano.
Denton’s soulful indie-rock icon was the centerpiece for Legacy Hall’s four-day grand opening for the Lexus Box Garden, the establishment’s new multi-entertainment venue constructed from recycled shipping containers, hence its name.
The Box Garden is the latest addition to Plano’s Legacy Hall West, which is situated off the Dallas North Tollway on Windrose Avenue.
Now a bona fide live music venue, the Box Garden’s sound resonates on all levels of Legacy Hall’s exterior, but one can especially feel the sound system’s vibrations pulsating through the venue’s fine-graveled patio surface surrounding the stage during a concert.
As the smell of barbecue and beer permeated in the air, Jaffe’s voice boomed through the terrace, echoing off the four large structures enclosing the venue.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work with Sarah multiple times,” Gavin Mulloy, Legacy Hall marketing director, says. “I’ve been able to watch her grow and be part of the shows she puts on. She just brings it. She’s a fucking rock star.”
After Denton-based TOMKAT opened with an array of electric rhythms, Jaffe’s headlining performance commenced what the visionaries of the Box Garden hope to bring to suburban North Texas.
“The burbs have a rep. Let’s be honest,” Courtney Garza, Legacy Hall event and sales manager, says. “And now we’re kind of breaking that mold and creating something that is a destination zone for people even up in Dallas to come travel here for.”
Though a few musicians played the Box Garden stage beforehand, the Jaffe concert highlighted the Legacy Hall team’s goal to create an eclectic artist-friendly spot in Plano. Friday night was Jaffe’s first time playing a venue in the city.
“We are just grateful to be playing in front of a group of people, and in front of people who worked really, really hard to make something really good for artists,” Jaffe says. “The intent is, like, so pure, and so when you go off that energy of people wanting to do something that is really good, you’re going to have a good time.”
Minutes before Jaffe’s show, Front Burner president Jack Gibbons and Mulloy used sports stadium-style hand-held T-shirt cannons to fire Box Garden merch from Legacy Hall’s second level terrace into the crowd of concert goers.
“I just caught a shirt at the Box Garden grand opening, and it feels pretty amazing right now,” says Joe Lamb, a revenue manager for La Quinta Inn and Suites and avid Sarah Jaffe fan, who grabbed one of the T-shirts fired from the balcony. Lamb says he drove almost 30 minutes from Euless to see Jaffe perform and experience the Box Garden grand opening.
Mulloy, a long-time Dallas concert promoter known for bringing music’s most beloved artists to popular DFW venues, joined Legacy Hall in April to contribute his creative direction for the Box Garden. Mulloy says the Legacy Hall owners give the marketing team freedom to explore ideas they find innovative, such as an upcoming Mario Kart tournament to be played on the patio’s large LED screen, yoga sessions and a free Polyphonic Spree concert.
Along with providing a creative atmosphere for musicians, says venue manager and talent buyer Tim Ziegler, their team is looking for new ways to diversify the venue’s entertainment. Ziegler says he hopes to put together a whiffle ball home run derby with different MLB stadium backdrops displayed on the Box Garden’s LED screen.
On the first day of the grand opening, the Legacy Hall staff turned the Box Garden’s official ribbon cutting into a unique outlet plugging ceremony. Jaffe, along with Front Burner CEO Randy DeWitt, Gibbons and Plano city officials, christened the Box Garden’s opening on the main stage by plugging a basketball-sized electric plug into a prop outlet.
After the plug-in, the lounge, tiki and tequila bars right of the stage opened, bartenders began pouring booze and the Chris Watson Band blasted a barrage of funk for the occasion.
For the grand opening, crew members of the Unlawful Assembly Brewing Co., which sits on Legacy Hall’s third level, also unveiled their newest addition to the brewery’s line of craft beers. The Unlawful Assembly brew crew showcased their new creation Bad Baby Ale named after Jaffe’s most recent album Bad Baby. Jaffe says she even helped design the beer’s taste by picking from a palette of different flavors.
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“They nailed it,” Jaffe says. “It is totally something I would drink.”
Along with various fragrances from other alcoholic beverages, the smell of sweet, sour and spicy food aromas continued to linger from the 23 open-kitchen food stalls nestled inside Legacy Hall during all four days of the grand opening. Gourmet food-munching and cocktail-drinking visitors consistently moseyed in and out from the patio, sipping drinks and eyeing the smorgasbord of street-style cuisines inside. On Saturday, diners who took their meals outside to the patio experienced a diverse line-up of North Texas music favorites with performances by Sleepy Zuhoski, Madison King, Vandoliers and Kirk Thurmond & The Millennials.
Gibbons says the Box Garden and Legacy Hall’s purpose goes beyond beer, festivities and rock concerts.
“It’s community,” he says. “So, it could be a school band or could be something from an unbelievable local artist who is making it national. It could be something that just brings lots of people together and celebrate food, celebrate music and celebrate just everything good going on in their lives. I think that’s what it’s all about — how to be part of the community.”