Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Fillmore is coming to Silver Spring

This is sort of old-ish news by now, but Silver Spring has signed a deal w/ LiveNation to bring one of their Fillmore-branded clubs to the downtown area. It will go where the Birchmere was going to go -- in the old JC Penny building on west side of Colesville Rd, across from the AFI Theater. LiveNation has several of the Fillmore clubs around the country, like in NYC and San Fran, plus they own the House of Blues clubs.

Not too long ago, the House of Blues wanted to open up shop in the newly developing 'hood of NoMa. Not sure who comes up w/ these names, but NoMa is in the area where 395 meets NY Avenue. Guess NoMa stands for North of Mass Ave... Anyway, when the House of Blues wanted to do that, many people rose a stink about it, especially because the club would directly compete w/ our own nationally-renowned local institution, the 9:30 Club. Plus, people don't like LiveNation because it's Clear Channel and a huge corporation.

Intestingly, Seth Hurwitz who owns and runs IMP productions and the 9:30 Club sent a letter to Montgomery County saying he was very interested in being considered to develop a music hall at the JC Penny site. But he was too late because MoCo had already decided they were going w/ LiveNation. That's too bad because it would've been cool, I think, to have him develop something. And this new Fillmore club definitely will compete w/ the 9:30. Hopefully, the competition will be good for everyone.

Oh yeah, and the other interesting thing is that very shortly after the LiveNation deal was announced, College Park announced that the Birchmere was gonna open up a new location in their planned new Town Center development. So PG County gets the Birchmere and MoCo gets the Fillmore. To me, it sounds maybe there's more to the story, but what do I know.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this, but I think generally it's a good thing. On the one hand, I do have an admittedly knee jerk fear of Clear Channel because -- many people would say -- that by buyig up many many radio stations they have an unfair monopoly on radio and have homogenized radio in general. And as a local supporter of the 9:30 Club since they used to be on F Street, I would hope that nothing bad happens to their business because of the competition. But it'll be a good thing for Silver Spring. Bottom line: I probably won't spend much time there, but I think it's a good thing.

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