Local Current Blog

Paisley Park to open for public tours, starting Oct. 6

Paisley Park in July 2016 (Jay Gabler/MPR)

The Bremer Trust, which is managing Prince’s affairs as the late music icon’s estate makes its way through probate court, has announced that it’s partnering with Prince’s family and with the City of Chanhassen to open Paisley Park for public tours. The tours are expected to begin on Oct. 6, with $38.50 as the standard ticket price. Tours will last approximately 70 minutes, and a “VIP Experience” tour will be offered for “$100 or more.”

“Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do and was actively working on,” said Prince’s sister Tyka Nelson in a statement. “Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime. Now, fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time as we open the doors to this incredible place.”

A business plan and rezoning proposal have been submitted to the City of Chanhassen. The city planning commission will consider the proposal on Sept. 20, and mayor Denny Laufenburger says he’s asked for the city council to convene on Oct. 3 for a special meeting to consider the matter. “I believe that the plans for Paisley Park are in full accordance with Prince’s wishes,” writes Laufenburger in a letter to the community. “He knew exactly how to showcase his production studio for his fans in preparation for this eventual outcome.”

The Bremer Trust says it’s working with Prince’s family to develop an advisory council to “provide valuable input on the entire experience.” In a press release, the Trust says that “guided tours will take visitors throughout the extensive main floor of Paisley Park, including the recording and mixing studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits. Tours will also include Prince’s video editing suites, rehearsal rooms, private NPG Music Club, and a massive soundstage and concert hall where he rehearsed for tours and held exclusive private events and concerts. Also featured will be thousands of artifacts from Prince’s personal archives, including iconic concert wardrobe, awards, musical instruments, artwork, rare music and video recordings, concert memorabilia, automobiles and motorcycles.”

Comparisons have frequently been made between Paisley Park and Elvis Presley’s estate Graceland — which now operates as a busy and profitable museum — and appropriately, a subsidiary of Graceland Holdings will be involved with the management of Paisley Park as a museum, bringing its expertise and even putting up the initial funding for the enterprise. The business plan for Paisley Park cites Graceland as a point of reference for matters ranging from the average number of guests per car to maintaining relationships with civic authorities.

Among the other details that can be gleaned from the business plan: Paisley Park is expected to be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Up to 2,000 visitors are expected each day. There will be food and merch — and the facility will continue to occasionally operate as a recording studio and concert venue, though the business plan emphasizes that no such activity has yet been booked or is planned until “at least March 2017.” The business plan suggests that Paisley Park’s exterior round building may be “completed,” and that “limited occupancy lodging” may be developed on the property in the future. (This could be for staff, family, or musicians — not necessarily for public rental.)

Tickets will go on sale starting this Friday at 2:00 p.m. CDT via officialpaisleypark.com. The press release also promises that details will soon be forthcoming on the Oct. 13 official tribute concert being planned for U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. No ticket or lineup details for that concert have yet been announced. In the meantime, Prince fans are preparing to welcome his Purple-Rain-era band the Revolution to First Avenue for three shows on Sept. 1-3.