ENCORE: Knitting Factory looks to Lake Tahoe for more concerts
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Live music fans in the Lake Tahoe Basin may have reason to celebrate.
After opening a 1,265-person capacity music venue in downtown Reno a little more than a year ago, Knitting Factory Entertainment has an eye on promoting more shows in the region.
The company’s Reno showroom opened in December 2009 and has hosted more than 140 concerts during the past year.
The concerts have shown more than a hint of eclecticism, ranging from country legend Willie Nelson to metal heavyweights Mastodon to female singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco.
Jam bands, hip-hop, radio rock and indie rock acts, like French Grammy Award winner’s Phoenix, have done well in the Reno market, said Talent Buyer Mark Dinerstein during a phone interview Friday.
“We like to say we present anything that sells a ticket,” Dinerstein said.
One genre that didn’t sell so many tickets was adult contemporary country. The open, dance-friendly venue may have discouraged fans who would be happier having a seat in a casino or showroom setting, Dinerstein said.
The original Knitting Factory opened in New York City as an illegal, 350 seat avant-garde jazz venue in 1987, before expanding to Los Angeles in 2000 and then to Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Wash. in 2006.
Focusing on smaller markets in recent years has given the company the opportunity to develop “our own history” and avoid expensive competition with established venues in larger cities, Dinerstein said.
“We’re really, really pleased with the results,” Dinerstein.
The company is focused on keeping ticket and concession prices low, while providing a high quality experience to customers.
“We feel like we’ve steeped in and catered to the locals rather than cater to the tourists,” Dinerstein said.
But Knitting Factory is more than it’s brick and mortar operations. The company often promotes events at venues outside it’s own buildings under the “Knitting Factory Presents” moniker, Dinerstein said.
Through such activities, the company has quietly found it’s way into the top 30 largest live music promoters in the country.
Rapper Snoop Dogg’s Wednesday performance at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa will be Knitting Factory’s first foray into the basin.
“I saw the opportunity to do a Lake Tahoe show rather than a Reno show and I jumped at it,” Dinerstein said.
The talent buyer does not expect the show to be the Knitting Factory’s last basin gig, but what the company may bring to town is unknown.
Additional events have not been scheduled and there is no set goal for how many shows the Knitting Factory may hold in the basin, but Dinerstein’s said he plans to use established relationships with artists to bring more music to the area.
What artists are available in the region may be the largest factor determining the nature of upcoming shows.
“We’re the largest producer of concerts in Reno, the Northwest U.S. and we’re constantly looking for new opportunities and Lake Tahoe makes perfect sense for us, so expect more in the future.”