I’ve posted before about how great it is to have a traditional stage in the heart of downtown Kent. It’s a great cultural and entertainment asset that really does separate Kent from most of the small downtowns in our area — and it’s when you have something that others don’t that gives you a great chance to be a destination. And destinations are places where people from outside Kent bring money into our economy which is the holy grail of economic development.
I’ve got another post based on some interesting data about how much business the Kent Stage actually helps drive in our economy. In an act of shameless self promotion, the data came from the Kent Stage.
Report from the Kent Stage
Economic, Cultural, and Quality of Life impact of The Kent Stage on Northeast Ohio from 2002 – 2009
The March 22, 2002 opening of a renovated movie theater, now called The Kent Stage, marked a revival of activity and live music in downtown Kent. The Kent Stage has been a harbinger of success and leadership in the redevelopment of Downtown Kent. Following the development of The Kent Stage were the West River Medical Center, West River Place, the Black Squirrel Gallery, the Phoenix Project and most recently, Acorn Alley.
Constructed as the Flannigan and Steele Theater in 1927, The Kent Stage is the only remaining downtown theater of its kind in Portage County. The building opened as a movie theater and has entertained audiences in Kent and the region for 80 plus years.
The leadership of the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association took an ailing Kent Cinema and built up a clientèle of music aficionados from literally around the world. The building has seen a renovated theater, entryway, and bar. The HVAC and electrical systems have been updated as well.
Hal Walker of Kent, Ohio was the first person to perform in what has become a landmark for live entertainment in Northeast Ohio. Walker opened for Red House Records artist and winner of the Association For Independent Music’s award for best pop album of the year; Lucy Kaplansky.
Since it’s opening, The Kent Stage has injected over $3.1 million dollars into the local economy of Kent and surrounding communities. Area hotels, restaurants, bars and retail stores have seen their business markedly increase on evenings of concerts at The Kent Stage.
The Kent Stage provides an intimate setting to enjoy locally, nationally and internationally recognized performers in a small city in northeast Ohio. The Kent Stage now presents an average of 90 concerts per year, as well as four theatrical performances, and four film festivals/movie premieres. Additionally, The Kent Stage is the home of the internationally acclaimed Kent State Folk Festival, the Up From The River Music Festival, which features local musicians and the Kent Blues Festival.
Destination Downtown Kent:
These performances have been attracting fans from all 88 counties of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and 31 other states as well as Canada, England and Japan.
Over 120,000 music fans have attended events at The Kent Stage. 82% of whom do not live in Kent. There are 226 you-tube videos online from The Kent Stage. WKSU’s FolkAlley.com carries live recording of Kent Stage artists into 130 countries across the globe. Additionally, there are hundreds of live recordings on the internet.
Alex Bevan recorded a live CD’s at The Kent Stage and WAPS’s Just Plain Folk occasionally airs entire concerts from The Kent Stage. Kent’s music legends, The Numbers Band celebrated their 35th Anniversary at The Kent Stage in 2005. Numerous bands and artists have had CD release parties at The Kent Stage. The Kent Stage website; www.kentstage.org averages 20,000 visitors per month.
Other facts of note:
The bands that have played at the Kent Stage:The Father of Rock & Roll:
An original member of The Beatles:
Richie Havens, Melanie, Joan Baez
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members:
Roger McQuinn, Chris Hillman, Bo Diddley, The Shirelles, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Drifters, The Coasters, Johnnie Johnson, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Denny Laine of Wings & Terry Sylvester of The Hollies.
Asleep at the Wheel, Riders In The Sky (Also an Academy Award winner), Steve Earle, Tim O’Brien, Nickel Creek, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Nanci Griffith, Richie Havens, The Kingston Trio, Denny Laine, Janis Ian, Chris Thomas King, Sam Bush, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley.
Vocal Group Hall of Fame members:
McGuinn & Hillman of The Byrds, Terry Sylvester of The Hollies and the Moody Blues, The Crystals, The Chiffons, The Tokens, Jay & The Americans, The Marcels, The Kingston Trio, Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Drifters, The Coasters.
International Bluegrass Music Association Award winners:
Ralph Stanley, The Grascals, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, Nickel Creek, Claire Lynch, Tim O’Brien, Infamous Stringdusters, Gillian Welch, David Grisman, Tony Trischka, Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Mountain Heart, Alison Brown, Chris Thile.
Country Music Association Award winners:
Asleep at the Wheel, Rosanne Cash, David Frizzell, Chris Thomas King, Nickel Creek, Gretchen Peters, Riders in the Sky, Leon Russell, Darryl Scott, Billy Joe Shaver, Ralph Stanley, Gillian Welch.
Americana Music Assoc. Award winners:
Darryl Scott, The Avett Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, The Greencards, Nanci Griffith, Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Asleep at the Wheel, Chris Hillman, Billy Joe Shaver.
Folk heroes, icons and legends:
Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, Livingston Taylor, John Gorka, David Wilcox, Leo Kottke, Leon Redbone, Kathleen Edwards, John Cowan, John McCutcheon, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, Robin and Linda Williams, Greg Brown, Iris Dement, Peter Rowan,Susan Werner, Tom Rush, Claire Lynch, Blind Boys of Alabama, Maura O’Connell, The Punch Brothers, Over The Rhine and dozens more.
Blues Music Award Winners and Blues HOF Members:
Johnnie Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, Roomful of Blues, Bo Diddley, Tab Benoit, Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Rock and Pop Stars:
Al Stewart, Rusted Root, Little Feat, Karla Bonoff, Jonathan Edwards, Brewer & Shipley, Josh Radin, India Aire, Bo Bice, The Dunks, Amos Lee, Chad & Jeremy, Peter & Gordon, Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks, Commander Cody, Keller Williams, Medeski Martin & Wood, Brian Auger, Leon Russell, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers. Jesse Colin Young, Lisa Loeb, Michelle Shocked, Steve Forbert, Colin Hay, Martin Sexton, Donna The Buffalo, Cowboy Junkies, Ekoostik Hookah, BoomBox, Brandi Carlile and Richard Thompson.
Numerous local and regional artists including:
The Numbers Band, The Twistoffs, Alex Bevan, The Rhonda, Hillbilly IDOL, Rio Neon, Hal Walker, Jon Mosey, Brian Henke, Ryan Humbert, Dale Galgozy, Wallace Colman, Frankie Starr, The Speedbumps, Simeon Soul Charger, Case Sensitive, David Mayfield, Michael Searching Bear, Jessica Lea Mayfield, One Way Rider, and dozens more.
The Kent Stage has been the host of a number of benefits including the Woodchoppers’ Ball benefiting the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (five times), Rotary Club of Kent’s “Music of Main Street (five times), St. Pet’s Day for the Portage County APL(three times), Kent Social Services/Lords Pantry, Portage County Sheriff’s Assoc. fund raisers (five times), FOP Lodge 70 fund raiser(five times), Ravenna Firefighters’ Association fund raisers (three times), and Townhall II.
The Kent Stage has been the host of the Children’s Musical Theatre of Kent, Standing Rock Cultural Arts Children’s Theater, Standing Rock’s Film Festival, Who’s Your Mama, (Kent’s Earth Day Festk,ival), the Tree City Players and Kent Stage Players, as well as numerous film premiers.
The Kent Stage is operated by the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association. In addition a paid staff of two, an average of 10 volunteers come together from various communities in Northeast Ohio including Akron, Brunswick, Hudson, Ravenna, Richfield, Shaker Heights, Solon, Stow and Kent in order to produce the events at The Kent Stage. Combined, they have contributed over 35,000 hours to the activities of The Kent Stage.