B.B. King Blues Club Closing, Final Shows at Times Square Location Featuring Buddy Guy, Rick Ross, George Clinton
The B.B. King Blues Club has announced its final run of shows at its current Times Square location, as the rent just became too expensive.
AP Photo / Richard Drew – BB King Blues Club Obit
People pause under the marque of B.B. King Blues Club in New York’s Times Square May 15, the day after the blues legend’s death.
“Due to escalating rent, the historic venue and supper club is forced to close its doors with a final performance on April 29,” representatives said in a statement. The final gig will feature the Harlem Gospel Choir.
All shows scheduled after April 29 will be moved to various venues throughout the city, including gigs from Walter Trout, Morris Day & The Time, and Keiko Matsui. The venue’s largest reported show of last year was Johnny Clegg Oct. 23, with 1,200 tickets moved for a gross of $83,352.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we share the news about B.B. King Blues Club’s closing,” stated venue COO Tsion Bensusan. “Despite many sold out shows, the location’s rent escalated to an unsustainable level, leaving us no choice but to close our doors.”
The venue is working with the choir to find a new home for its weekly residency, which will be announced shortly, according to the announcement.
“Unfortunately this has become a growing trend in New York City, with other iconic music venues and businesses falling victim to opportunistic property owners,” Bensusan added. “This venue’s legacy extends much further than the stage, playing a role in Times Square’s revitalization two decades ago. It is a shame that wasn’t taken into consideration regarding its future in the area.
“Nevertheless, we feel extremely grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from both fans and artists over the years to create some truly historic and incredible memories in this space. We hope that we can find a new place to call home very soon so we can continue bringing live music to you all.”
The closing week celebration, coming after 18 years of operation, includes shows by Buddy Guy (Apri; 17-18, April 29), William Bell’s Memphis Soul Revue (April 22), Rick Ross (April 23), Slick Rick & Doug E Fresh and Special Guests (April 25), and
This was not the only BB King’s Blues Club, as the original club was in Memphis, on the city’s famous Beale Street. There are also clubs in Nashville, Orlando, New Orleans, and Montgomery, Ala. The Memphis location is set to host King Beez, Blind Mississippi Morris, and BB King’s Blues Club All-Star Band in the coming weeks.
T-Presents‘ Toffer Christensen was talent buyer for the club for a period, and multiple times nominated for Pollstar Talent Buyer of the Year during his time there.