Exclusive: Live Nation Unveils The Fillmore New Orleans (Interview & Photos)

Live Nation will open a new entertainment venue in New Orleans in early 2019. Dubbed the Fillmore New Orleans, the 2,200-capacity club will occupy the long-vacant second floor of Harrah’s Casino.

The Fillmore New Orleans fills an unmet niche in the New Orleans market, said Ron Bension, president of Live Nation Clubs & Theaters. He anticipates an August announcement of the venue’s first ten or 12 shows.

“We always felt we could bring more music to the New Orleans market,” Bension said. “It’s a vibrant market, but most of the venues are on the smaller side. We’re excited about being able to bring bands that historically bypassed New Orleans.”

Although Bension wouldn’t name specific acts that may play the Fillmore, he promised an eclectic schedule that includes local acts. “There’s going to be something for everybody, a lot of variety that didn’t go into the market before,” he said.

A rendering of the Music Hall inside the Fillmore New Orleans

A rendering of the Music Hall inside the Fillmore New Orleans

The Fillmore New Orleans’ 2,220-person capacity, Bension said, is key to booking acts that would normally play Atlanta or Houston, for instance, but not New Orleans. “We’re going to be 500 to 700 higher in capacity than the next guy,” Bension said. “That makes a difference to bands that would normally rather go to another market than play for 1,200 people. We can say, ‘Hey, you can come to this market and play for 2,200 people.’ House of Blues (in New Orleans) is only 850, so it’s a big leap up from there.”

The Fillmore New Orleans floor can be configured for seating or standing. The venue will also feature multilevel viewing spaces, bleachers in the back of the room and excellent sight-lines, Bension said. “It’s not just a flat floor. We really focus on sight-lines, sound and lights.”

An onsite kitchen will offer po-boys, sandwiches, salads and finger food. “We want people to come early and stay late,” Bension said. “We’ll have lounge areas in the lobby and the VIP area, places to hang out and get away from the crowds.”

The Fillmore New Orleans will have its own street-level entrance as well as entrance from Harrah’s Casino. Casino parking will be available to club patrons.

The Fillmore New Orleans joins Live Nation’s seven previously-opened Fillmore venues throughout the U.S., including the Fillmore in San Francisco. This week’s Fillmore New Orleans announcement comes 50 years after concert promoter Bill Graham opened his legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco in July 1968.

Live Nation strives to make every Fillmore club unique, Bension said. “It’s not for every place. It’s for major markets. And the venue takes on the life of its city. We like to put it in places that have character. New Orleans has wonderful character.”

Live Nation is the world’s largest presenter of live entertainment. In New Orleans, the company operates House of Blues, produces the annual Voodoo Music + Arts Experience and presents numerous major concerts.

The unveiling was celebrated with a ceremony at the new site of the Fillmore, complete with the largest guitar-shaped cake ever baked (432 eggs, one-quarter ton sugar, 100 pounds butter and at least 10,000 sprinkles! Also celebrated is the 50th anniversary of The Fillmore West’s debut.