Ardmore’s Music Hall Revival
January 19, 2014
On the Main Line, Ardmore’s iconic 23 East Cabaret music venue once hosted an array of world-famous 80s and 90s acts – from Dave Matthews Band to The Red Hot Chili Peppers – before becoming a Philly suburb venue featuring cover bands in more recent years. Now in the hands of new ownership, the renamed and revamped Ardmore Music Hall is quickly regaining its former glory, thanks to renovations and the concert programming team of Music Industry professors Jesse Lundy and Rich Kardon, with a little help from Drexel graduates.
Kardon has more than 15 years of touring experience for a variety of major label artists as tour manager, tour accountant and production manager. In 1998, he opened The Point in Bryn Mawr, which was named “One of the Best Places to See Live Music in America” by Esquire in 2003. The success of The Point was the catalyst for the creation of Point Entertainment with Lundy, a Philadelphia-area concert promoter and publicist who worked with Electric Factory Concerts and New Park Entertainment/Jack Utsick Presents. Point Entertainment produces shows, concerts series and special events, and they’ve booked the acts for the Philadelphia Folk Festival for some time now.
Lundy and Kardon’s engagement with the revival of the Ardmore Music Hall has ranged from reconfiguring the club’s layout to refocusing on a new target audience. “We don’t want the Ardmore to compete with other clubs in Philadelphia,” says Lundy. “Though many young people are moving in town, there are still a lot of people in the suburbs that are starting families, but still love going to good shows as long as they don’t have to drive into the city and pay for parking.”
After a much-needed layout and décor re-do from its 23 East days, The Ardmore Music Hall now features a state-of-the-art sound system, a large dance floor, a low stage that provides an intimate experience for audiences, and flat screen TVs to project the shows throughout the venue. Kardon explained, “The bare bones of the room were good, but the previous owner had it configured like a Jersey Shore club – where the bar dominated the space and the stage is tucked away in a back corner. The Ardmore needed to have flexibility. We wanted it to be less ‘rock club’ and more ‘listening room.’ So, we put up walls, hung new curtains and made changes based solely on improving the quality of sound.”
Lundy and Kardon now want the Ardmore Music Hall to serve as a place for their Music Industry students to learn the live entertainment business. “We’ve gotten jobs for a lot of Westphal students,” says Lundy. “We have Music Industry alums on our team at the venue and we’ve always encouraged new students to come work shows. We tell them that they have to build a network of relationships if they want a good job out of school. The degree could mean nothing without that experience, and there’s no better place to get that than in the live entertainment.”
Kardon adds that Drexel students can reach the Ardmore Music Hall easily via mass transit. “The R-5 regional line stops, literally, at our back door,” he says. “And, if you prefer to drive, parking is always free.”
Click here to visit the Ardmore Music Hall website.