Queen City Music Hall Fills Fort Worth's Need for a Large, Non-Arena Venue

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Fort Worth's music scene has many things, but until recently it did not have a solid mid-size venue -- the role occupied by such Dallas venues as The Granada. But now it may have found its answer in Queen City Music Hall. The venue, which opened last month, is already up and running with gigs from local musicians, and will slowly be expanding into getting the kind of mid-range acts that have always eluded Fort Worth and gone to Dallas every time. Large local talent buyer and management company Blackbox Presents will operate the venue. We spoke with Blackbox's Jamie Knight about their ambitions for the venue.

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What made you decide to open Queen City Music Hall?

Fort Worth has several venues over 3,000 capacity and tons of venues under 400 capacity, but nothing in that sweet spot 700-1200 capacity. That's the size room that the best mid-level bands play. All of those shows go to Dallas, unless it's a festival. Southside Music Hall, Trees, Prophet Bar Big Room, DADA, Granada. Fort Worth needed one of our own in that range.

What's it like inside?

It's a basement venue right next door to Bass Hall, a long room with 3 levels and new , loud, nice sound system. The tones in the room are deep red, black, purple and gold, antique brass fixtures and a new KISS mural which is actually pretty cool. We'll be getting lots more of those over the years I'm sure. The ceilings are lower that most venues of its size so it feels really intimate. Everywhere is a good seat.

What are your ambitions for the place?

Our goals for the room are basically to book as many thrilling artists as we can, and to work with the best outside promoters to bring the best shows to Fort Worth. The owners and staff behind Queen City have a very strong network of contacts that are going to help create a diverse calendar and make it the place to be in downtown. We hope to be attractive to other local promoters so that we can provide the best shows to our audience. One of the loftier goals is reviving nightlife in general in downtown. 2014 is going to be incredibly strong.

Are you still going to be able to give your full attention to Blackbox's other endeavors, or is this your major focus right now?

This and Lola's are my main focus right now, but Aaron and our staff are holding down the Fort with our other projects, pun intended. Our Blackbox artists have had to be a little patient with us while we get a handle on all of our venues (7 right now in Fort Worth and a few more coming soon), but we just hired another new agent to focus on Artist Booking. We just added Ice Eater and Birds of Night to our roster, so it's a lot to keep up with! But we have a great staff and a strong crew of summer interns.

Were you modeling it on any other venue at all?

We're modeling it after Caravan of Dreams more than anything else. Fort Worth has never gotten over that place. It was an incredible venue in downtown Fort Worth that was open from the '80s til 2001. We all love live music and have pulled concepts and ideas from lots of amazing places from 9:30 Club in Washington DC to the great Dallas venues we all respect.

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