So apparently the suburban dream isn't dead. It's just that it's moved from Plano to Irving. Last week, fans of the Suburbia Music Festival, which enjoyed a respectable and generally promising first year at Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve in Plano, were dealt a blow when it was announced that LiveNation was withdrawing its support from the festival. At the time, the promotion company stayed mum on why exactly they'd given up so quickly on the project.
But now we have an answer: LiveNation had already come up with another plan. That plan, announced last night at an event held at House of Blues, is a for a massive new music complex called the Pavilion at The Music Factory, which is set to open in Irving in the spring of 2016.
Dallas has been a bit of a thorny market for LiveNation and its rival big-box promoter, AEG, to get a grip on. Between the two of them, they handle booking at venues like Gexa Energy Pavilion, Verizon Theatre, American Airlines Center and House of Blues. But, as an event like Suburbia (which was LiveNation's attempt to get a share of the festival pie) or a venue like the Gilley's complex (which seems to change hands between LiveNation and AEG every other year) have demonstrated, having huge resources and lots of star power to draw on doesn't necessarily cut it.
But the Pavilion would appear to be an all-hands-on-deck effort to make things stick. As the "centerpiece" of the larger Music Factory complex that Irving is pouring money into downtown, it will be designed to change with the seasons: The theater itself will have a 4,000-person capacity but will be capable of expanding into an open-air pavilion with a 65,000-square foot lawn that doubles to hold 8,000 people.
Basically, they're not messing around.
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"We are exceedingly proud to be able to deliver to the DFW Metroplex this state of the art venue," said LiveNation Dallas COO Danny Eaton in a prepared statement. "It will be the newest venue of its size dedicated solely to live music, entertainment and special events that has been constructed in the area over the last decade."
Perhaps it'll also be the marquee venue and event center that the company would so love to have here in (or near) Dallas. Or maybe not. What it might mean for the future of a venue like Gexa, which is hardly state of the art much less beloved by concertgoers, is hard to say. Either way, dream on, friends.
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