Local Current Blog

Look inside the Fillmore Minneapolis, almost ready for showtime

Photos by Helen Teague/MPR

Next month, Minneapolis will gain another music venue: the Fillmore Minneapolis in the North Loop. The 1,850-capacity venue will open its doors with a three-night stand by Brandi Carlile from Feb. 12-14.  The Fillmore is named after and based on the iconic music hall in San Francisco. The Minneapolis Fillmore is the latest in a national chain of Fillmores, all currently run by promoter Live Nation.

Prior to Live Nation taking over the original Fillmore’s management in 2007, the venue was most famously organized by legendary promoter Bill Graham. Graham took over what was then a dance hall in the mid-1960s and turned it into a hub for the Bay Area’s psychedelic and counterculture scene.

Graham focused on bringing notable acts to the Fillmore, from the Grateful Dead to Jimi Hendrix. He also worked on creating an inviting space, as if to welcome music lovers into his home. Both of these are priorities of the Fillmore Minneapolis as well, say Live Nation representatives. For example, the Fillmore Minneapolis will continue Graham’s tradition of distributing apples to music lovers, which he did at the original Fillmore as well as in his own home.

Last Friday, Live Nation invited press to take a look at the space nearing completion. The general admission space consists of an approximately four-foot stage, four chandeliers, and two bars on the first floor. Each of these bars features a blacklight mural, one of which depicts a woman holding the signature Graham apple.

The second floor has more capacity and BG’s Lounge, named for Graham. The lounge, which will serve as a VIP space during select events, is equipped with a bar; a projector and screen; and four booths. The space features a wall of framed black and white personal photos of Graham with his family and friends as well as with musicians like the Rolling Stones.

The lounge utilizes recycled materials, with four chandeliers made from bike chains and foot rails around the bar made from antique train tracks, which were sourced from around Minnesota.

The lounge features posters of performances by Prince, Lizzo, and the Replacements at the San Francisco Fillmore. Posters of other Minnesota artists, such as Owl City and Atmosphere, hang on the walls of the foyer. According to Live Nation Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development Dave Fortin, these posters further the venue’s goal of falling under the Live Nation umbrella while having a local feel.

Through the foyer space, concertgoers can also access Trax Burgers and Bar. Open seven days a week, Trax will serve burgers, shakes, cocktails, and craft beers.

The venue’s box office, which opens Feb. 1, is a brief walk from the Fillmore and Trax. In the meantime, fans can purchase Fillmore tickets at the box office at the Varsity Theater, another Live Nation venue.

The Fillmore plans on an estimated 115 events throughout the year, including concerts, special events, and original programming. There are currently 40 shows on sale with eight already sold out, including all three of Carlile’s shows opening weekend.

According to Fortin, the Fillmore holds “honoring the rare night out” as its number-one priority. Fortin pointed out that many concertgoers may only be able to catch a show once in a blue moon, and as such, the Fillmore wants to create a space where music lovers can have a full night out. “It’s about the fans and the artist at the end of the day,” he said.