The concert promotion powerhouse Bowery Presents, owners of the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge, as well as the more recently opened Music Hall of Williamsburg and Terminal 5, is beginning a new venture across the Hudson River. Starting this fall, the historic Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J.—an artsy town that’s home to lots of actors and journalists (and Steven Colbert)—will reopen under a newly formed independent concert promotion company called Montclair Entertainment, which includes several principals from Bowery Presents, The Star Ledger reports.
So, who will play there?
“Patti Smith … Sheryl Crow-types, the alternative rock types. … older, classic rock acts … Aretha Franklin,” said Bowery’s Michael Swier on who he might book.
Although Bowery Presents has promoted shows at the Meadowlands’ Continental Airlines Arena and the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, this new project marks its first major foray into the Garden State. It could be a significant boon to the independent music scene in New Jersey, a state many acts skip over because of its proximity to Manhattan to the north and Philly to the south. (Montclair is only about a 20-minute train ride or drive from the city.) And aside from the Asbury Lanes (also in Asbury Park) and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, there really aren’t Jersey venues that consistently book the types of shows you could expect to see any given night in New York.
Andy Feltz, a long-time promoter at the Beacon Theater and the United Palace, will also be involved in bringing shows to the Wellmont. The theater was built in 1922 and is about to undergo a roughly $3 million makeover. After all is said and done, the venue’s capacity will be about 2,200.