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Live Nation takes over booking, operations at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium

July 17, 2018

Live Nation takes over booking, operations at Cleveland Masonic Auditorium

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, is set to make its mark at yet another Cleveland venue. The historic Cleveland Masonic Auditorium at 3615 Euclid Ave., near the campus of Cleveland State University, will soon be under its operation.

The deal adds to Live Nation’s current Northeast Ohio portfolio that includes exclusive booking rights at  House of Blues, Jacobs Pavilion and Blossom Music Center.

The Masonic could begin hosting shows through its Live Nation Entertainment Club & Theatre division as early as November. A Live Nation spokesperson says they expect to make the announcement of their first show next week.

The 102,000-square-foot venue, designed by Cleveland architectural firm Hubbell & Benes and completed in 1921, was once home to the Cleveland Orchestra before the opening of Severance Hall. Last year, The Plain Dealer reported that longtime owners The Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Cleveland sold the space to Beaty Group Inc., a TempleLive affiliate. The space is undergoing renovations ahead of its November opening.

In recent years, the Masonic has been host to sporadic touring acts, including Fitz and the Tantrums, MGMT, Tegan & Sara, Leon Bridges and The Pixies, in association with outside bookers such as the Grog Shop.

“The Masonic was the next logical move for us in Cleveland. It is a vibrant music market with a very large population base that we think is underserved at the theater level,” said Ben Weeden, COO of Live Nation Club & Theatre, in a statement. “We look forward to establishing the Masonic as the must-play, 2,000-capacity venue in Cleveland.” 

It has some competition from a similarly sized venue not far away. Last year, AEG Presents, the world’s second largest concert promotions company, acquired the historic Agora Theatre and has been bringing in a steady stream of noteworthy acts. This Thursday, it celebrates its grand re-opening following a $3 million renovation with a giant bash. 

The company is also behind another big moment in Cleveland music. This Aug. 25-26, the city welcomes its first major music festival in years as AEG’s InCuya brings New Order, SZA, The Avett Brothers and AWOLNATION.

“We are proud to have The Masonic Auditorium as part of Live Nation’s portfolio of properties,” said Mike Brown of TempleLive. “This agreement with Live Nation will enhance the concertgoers experience at the Masonic, while propelling Cleveland more aggressively into this very competitive music market.”

Dan Kemer, vice-president of Midwest music for Live Nation and a Northeast Ohio native who started his career working for Belkin Productions, says the Masonic fills another niche in the music market. 

“Cleveland’s my hometown,” he says. “It’s great to have another venue here working in service of musicians from club to amphitheater level.”