Tuesday night at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, on the second date of his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” farewell tour, Elton John said it was “48 years to the day since I first played Philadelphia at the Electric Factory.”
The original Electric Factory, at 22nd and Arch Streets, was open from 1968 through 1970 and was part of a legendary U.S. circuit of venues like Bill Graham’s Fillmore East (in New York) and West (San Francisco), Boston’s Tea Party, Detroit’s Grande Ballroom and Chicago’s Kinetic Playground that helped incubate the careers of Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Cream, The Who, the Velvet Underground and Led Zeppelin.
Not only did Electric Factory co-owner Larry Magid take the venue’s name (and anti-establishment attitude) for his independent promotion company, by 1995, he’d opened a new Electric Factory on 7th and Willow, hosting the likes of Erykah Badu, Childish Gambino, St. Vincent and, pictured above in 2015, ZZ Top.
But on Wednesday Magid and partner Adam Spivak announced that they have sold the 2,200 capacity space to Bowery Presents — and with a new owner will come a new name. Bowery Presents is owned by AEG, but the name Electric Factory is controlled by AEG’s chief competitor, Live Nation. Reps for Live Nation did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.
The announcement reads, “Use of the legendary Electric Factory name has been refused by Live Nation, the venue’s former owners. As such, The Bowery Presents has temporarily named the venue North Seventh and turns to Philadelphia’s robust music community to crowdsource a permanent new moniker.”
The naming contest is already accepting submissions, and will remain open through September 30, 2018. For more info, visit www.NorthSeventhPhilly.com.
“What a ride it’s been,” said Magid in a prepared statement. “We would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of fans who have attended the over 2,500 shows at Electric Factory, from its original location to its rebirth in 1995. A special thanks to all the employees, old and new, that have worked at the Factory over the years and to the great acts who have graced our stage, it’s been our privilege to work with you.”
When asked whether the venue’s current staff will remain, Magid said, “Everyone remains, except one person who is pursuing other opportunities. It’s business as usual. Keeping the staff was informally part of the deal and we thank AEG for that.”