175 E Main St, Kent, OH, US
Bio: A brief history of The Kent Stage The Beginning: The March 22, 2002 opening of a renovated movie theater, now called The Kent Stage, marked a revival of activity and live music in downtown Kent. The Kent Stage has been a harbinger of success and leadership in the redevelopment of Downtown Kent. Following the development of The Kent Stage were the West River Medical Center, West River Place, the Black Squirrel Gallery, the Phoenix Project and most recently, Acorn Alley. Constructed as the Flannigan and Steele Theater in 1927, The Kent Stage is the only remaining downtown theater of its kind in Portage County. The building opened as a movie theater and has entertained audiences in Kent and the region for 80 plus years. The leadership of the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association took an ailing Kent Cinema and built up a clientèle of music aficionados from literally around the world. The building has seen a renovated theater, entryway, and bar. The HVAC and electrical systems have been updated as well. Hal Walker of Kent, Ohio was the first person to perform in what has become a landmark for live entertainment in Northeast Ohio. Walker opened for Red House Records artist and winner of the Association For Independent Music's award for best pop album of the year; Lucy Kaplansky. Results: Since it's opening, The Kent Stage has injected over $5.9 million dollars into the local economy of Kent and surrounding communities. Area hotels, restaurants, bars and retail stores have seen their business markedly increase on evenings of concerts at The Kent Stage. The Kent Stage provides an intimate setting to enjoy locally, nationally and internationally recognized performers in a small city in northeast Ohio. The Kent Stage now presents an average of 120 concerts per year, as well as three theatrical performances, and four film festivals/movie premieres. Additionally, The Kent Stage is the home of the internationally acclaimed Kent State Folk Festival, Kent Blues Festival, Kent Rockin' Counrty Festival and the Up From The River Music Festival, which features local musicians. These performances have been attracting fans from all 88 counties of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and 31 other states as well as Canada, England and Japan. Over 200,000 music fans have attended events at The Kent Stage. 82% of which do not live in Kent. There are 2,350 you-tube videos online from The Kent Stage. WKSU's FolkAlley.com carries live recording of Kent Stage artists into 130 countries across the globe. Additionally, there are hundreds of live recordings on the internet. Alex Bevan recorded a live CD's at The Kent Stage and WAPS's Just Plain Folk occasionally airs entire concerts from The Kent Stage. Kent's music legends, The Numbers Band celebrated their 35th Anniversary at The Kent Stage in 2005 and 40th Anniversary in 2010. Numerous bands and artists have had CD release parties at The Kent Stage. The Kent Stage website; www.kentstage.org averages 40,000 visitors per month. Other facts of note: In 2004, The Plain Dealer named The Kent Stage, Best Acoustic Venue in Northeast Ohio. In 2007, The City of Kent Economic Development Achievement Award was presented to The Kent Stage. In 2007, The Kent Stage served as the initial meeting location for the Main Street Ohio's presentation to the citizens, business owners and city officials regarding the the possibility of Kent's participation in the national Main Street program. Main Street Kent was born at The Kent Stage. Main Street Kent is an economic development program designed to improve and enhance the entire Downtown Kent area. Who comes to Kent? Since 2002, The Kent Stage has presented: (In no particular order and many have performed numerous times) Numerous local and regional artists including: The Numbers Band, The Twistoffs, Alex Bevan, The Rhondas, Hillbilly IDOL, Rio Neon, Hal Walker, Jon Mosey, Brian Henke, Ryan Humbert, Dale Galgozy, Wallace Coleman, Frankie Starr, The Speedbumps, Simeon Soul Charger, Case Sensitive, Michael Searching Bear, One Way Rider, Tryohill, Tropodelic, Winslow, Carlos Jones and dozens more. Benefits: The Kent Stage has been the host of a number of benefits including the Woodchoppers' Ball benefiting the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (eight times), Rotary Club of Kent's "Music of Main Street (eight times), St. Pet's Day for the Portage County APL(three times), Kent Social Services/Lords Pantry, Portage County Sheriff's Assoc. fund raisers (seven times), FOP Lodge 70 fund raiser(seven times), Ravenna Firefighters' Association fund raisers (three times), and Townhall II. Education: Additionally, TKS has been the host of the Children's Musical Theatre of Kent, Standing Rock Cultural Arts Children's Theater, Standing Rock's Film Festival, Who's Your Mama, (Kent's Earth Day Festival), the Tree City Players and Kent Stage Players, as well as numerous film premiers. Dedication: The Kent Stage is operated by the Western Reserve Folk Arts Association. In addition a paid staff of two, an average of 10 volunteers come together from various communities in Northeast Ohio including Kent, Akron, Brunswick, Hudson, Ravenna, Richfield, Shaker Heights, Solon, and Stow in order to produce the events at The Kent Stage. Combined, they have contributed over 65,000 hours to the activities of The Kent Stage.