Big Guns In Little Covington

A 1,200-capacity venue in Covington, Ky., suddenly has a lot going for it – namely, House of Blues Concerts and Charles Attal Presents.

The Madison Theater, a renovated turn-of-the-century facility, closed because of bankruptcy last June after a three-year run as a concert venue. It has reopened to host music once again.

The theatre went through a $3 million renovation in 2001 thanks to local developer Esther Johnson. She brought in bands like Hayseed Dixie and the “Chippendales” dancers along with local battle-of-the-bands concerts but ultimately ran out of funds, according to The Kentucky Post.

The venue seemed to be the once-and-future symbol of the town’s continuing struggle to renovate the downtown area.

Now it is the site of the first joint venture in House of Blues Concerts history. The company purchased the building with the help of Charles Attal Presents – producer of the Austin City Limits Music Festival and owner of Texas’ Stubb’s Bar-B-Q venues.

HoB exec VP Kevin Morrow told Pollstar he has been trying to collaborate with Attal for some time, looking for the right venue. The Madison Theater is more than just a venue in a town of about 45,000 – it’s a Cincinnati market play. Cincy is just across the Ohio River.

“We end up booking back-to-back shows in our Cleveland House of Blues, so it gives the agents and the bands a play in Cincinnati,” Morrow said.

So far, there’s a bunch of shows on the books including Paul Westerberg, Julie Roberts, Alkaline Trio, Indigo Girls, and The Killers (which sold out during the presale).

“To go with Charles and let his group operate it and let our group out of Cleveland book it worked really good for both of us,” Morrow said, adding that Attal collaborates on the booking.

The theatre was apparently in “move-in condition,” but the joint venture still upgraded the sound system and added an extra dressing room.