Over three decades of music experience and a history of concert promotion that could fill a stadium, will team up this September to unveil The Ardmore Music Hall. Formerly Brownies 23 East, project partners Bryan Dilworth of Bonfire Booking, Richard Kardon of Point Entertainment and Joe Rufo of Brownies 23 East will transform the historic suburban space into a cutting edge concert venue. In a competitive market like Philadelphia you may see different promoters partnering on shows from time to time. But it’s truly unique to see them combining forces to work together in the same venue.
A major part of the rebranding includes a new feel for the room. “The ideas everyone brought to the table will bring a whole new life to the room,” says Rufo. “Improved stage and customer seating for better sight lines, sound upgrades, a whole new ambiance, and a diverse selection of craft beers…it’s amazing to see what this is becoming.”
The 23 East Lancaster Avenue location is a building with significant history. The 23 East Cabaret not only presented acts such as Phish, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, Dave Mathews Band, Blues Traveler, Hootie & The Blowfish, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Joan Osborne and John Hiatt, it also played a pivotal role in the early careers of The Hooters and Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers, who went on to national prominence. In the nineties, it was Brownie’s 23 East, known as one of the top cover band rooms in the area, it also hosted shows with bands like Cheap Trick, Los Lobos, The Cherry Poppin Daddys and Merle Saunders.
With a flexible capacity that maxes out at 600, the Ardmore Music Hall will be configured to feel intimate at 250, which enables the partners to present a wide range of artists reflecting the breadth of knowledge of the booking team.
“The first shows will be announced in the coming weeks. But, confirmed fall shows include Johnny Winter November 8th, The Clarks November 15th and Steep Canyon Rangers November 22nd. We also look to bring in great acts that played ‘back in the day’, like Billy Price and Duke Robillard,” says Point Entertainment talent buyer Jesse Lundy. “The venue has hosted (Grateful Dead tribute act) Splintered Sunlight for years, and we think the jam-band community will love the room.”
“So much of the audience that you find at a typical concert live in the suburbs, so it only makes sense to bring the mountain to Mohammed,” says Bonfire Booking president Bryan Dilworth. “And having that mountain land on the Main Line, it makes a lot of sense to bring in Richard and Jesse who had so much success with The Point.”
“Having the opportunity to partner with Bryan Dilworth is very exciting,” says Kardon. “Bryan has a great history and reputation in the city along with a great team of people. His organization nicely compliments what Jesse and I do. Joe (Rufo) is a fixture in the community. He has been operating the venue for years, he’s got a terrific staff and is really focused on great customer service.”
“One of the things that we’re most excited about is that we know that the audience is there”, says Kardon. “Since The Point closed in June 2005, we regularly get emails asking when we’re going to open a new room. Currently, folks on the Main Line have to drive 30-45 minutes to see great live music; now it’ll be in their backyard. I believe one of the reasons for the success of The Point was, it filled a musical void in the community,” says Kardon. “Since closing there’s been a hole in the market; this is an opportunity to once again fill that void.”
Located just steps from the Ardmore Train Station in the heart of the Main Line, the Ardmore Music Hall has plenty of free parking and some great restaurants nearby.
About the Project Partners
Point Entertainment’s Richard Kardon and Jesse Lundy are the guys behind The Point in Bryn Mawr. The Point won numerous “Best of” awards including being named one of the “best places to see live music in America” by Esquire Magazine. The Point help to develop artists like Tegan & Sara, Matt Nathanson and Howie Day, who have gone on to headline The Electric Factory, booked by Bonfire. Although The Point closed in 2005, Point Entertainment has continued to book national artists at various venues in and around suburban Philadelphia and also program the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Bryan Dilworth, who’s Bonfire books the Electric Factory, Underground Arts and many other venues in the Philadelphia area, brings a wealth of concert promotion and restaurant industry experience to the fold.
Joe Rufo purchased the former Brownies 23 East almost 20 years ago. The venue was a popular and successful spot that hosted some of the areas finest cover bands. In 2010, Rufo sold the venue to pursue other business ventures. But, has recently taken it over once again and looks forward to the next phase of this historic musical landmark.
Ardmore Music Hall
23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, PA 19002
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