MGM Music Hall fits Fenway

BEANTOWN WAY: Chris Stapleton performed on September 1 at the new MGM Music Hall at Fenway Park in Boston. (Getty Images)

The new venture of Boston promoter Don Lowe

MGM Music Hall in Fenway held a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 22, kicking off a series of major music events supported by the Boston Red Sox and concert giant Live Nation.

The new 5,000-seat venue is located in a parking lot at the corner of Lansdowne and Ipswich Streets, directly behind Fenway Park, the historic home of the Sox.

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group Real Estate initiated the project, while Fenway Music Company and Live Nation β€” led by legendary Boston promoter Don Lowe β€” will manage the 91,500-square-foot venue. The facility spans four levels, the furthest of which is only 110 feet from the stage.

There are 2,000 fixed seats, with removable floor seating for general admission, dress checks on all levels and 10 bars. The Venue debuted with James Taylor on August 29-30. Three nights of Bruno Mars on September 7, 9 and 11 marked the official launch. Upcoming concerts include Porcupine Tree, Rosalia, Roxy Music, Lil Nas X and Lamb of God.

More than 65 acts are booked until the end of 2022.

BOSTON LAW: Live Nation’s Don Law performs at the grand opening of MGM Music Hall in late August. (Courtesy venue)

Law, chairman of Live Nation Boston, said the success of the 2,500-seat House of Blues Boston showed the market needed more space.

β€œThe size, versatility and thoughtful design make it a compelling choice for artists of all sizes looking to play in the market,” he said. “A room of this size fits well with our other properties in the market.” This list includes the 450-seat Brighton Music Hall, the 900-seat Paradise Rock Club, the 2,700-seat Orpheum Theater and the 5,000-seat Leader Bank Pavilion.

Design and construction of the facility was completed by Gilbane, Inc. (general contractor), DAIQ (architect) and Jones Lang LaSalle (project manager). The open-air rooftop offers views of downtown Boston. Solar energy increases the environmental friendliness of the premises.

More than 2.7 million pounds of steel were used to construct the building, and the facility’s walls are made up of 80,000 concrete blocks. Approximately 8,500 cubic yards of concrete were poured and 600 tons of rebar were used during the construction process.

“Fenway Sports Group owner John Henry had a clear vision for the venue’s aesthetic and how it would fit into historic Fenway Park,” Law said. “One winter day, he took us through the early planning stages and pointed out all the elements of the stadium design that should be included.”

With acts like Bruno Mars, Chris Stapleton and Roxy Music usually playing in big venues, Law says his strategy doesn’t necessarily involve underplaying.

“It was very important for us to open a special place with world-class artists,” he said. “Many major performers have expressed interest in this venue, seeking a more intimate setting. It makes sense for them to play multiple gigs in a venue like this rather than one gig in a bigger venue.”

Founding partners of MGM Resorts International, which acquired the rights to the name after the successful launch of MGM Springfield, Avid Technologies, Boston Beer Company, Curve, Jim Beam, MassMutual and Wasabi.

Fenway’s MGM Music Hall will partner with its neighbor, the Boston Academy of the Arts, the city’s only public college of fine and performing arts.

The partnership with Fenway Park is the culmination of more than two decades of relationship the promoter has had with the Red Sox, producing more than 90 shows at the historic stadium.

For Lowe, the MGM Music Hall at Fenway is the culmination of a career as a concert promoter that saw him manage the famous Boston Tea Party in 1968.

“Boston as a music market has always punched above its weight,” he said. “He has very progressive tastes and a real passion for live entertainment and the arts.”

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