With Two New Venues, The Intersection Gives a Stage to Burgeoning Acts

Elevation at The Intersection, Photo by Benjamin Howell
Elevation at The Intersection, Photo by Benjamin Howell

One of Grand Rapids’ most versatile spaces has transformed yet again. The 40-year-old concert venue, The Intersection, which has rocked the corner of Grandville Avenue and Cherry Street for the past 15 years, has added two new venues to continue its tradition of “delivering first-class shows” to the city’s concertgoers.

The two venues, Elevation and The Mint, have a 1,100 and 150-person capacity, respectively, and are located in the lower level of The Intersection. Both venues feature a modern design as well as functionality for an enhanced concert experience. They opened in March to their first concert crowds.

The transformation of the building’s lower level was a long time coming, according to Scott Hammontree, general manager of The Intersection. “There used to be batting cages down there, and it was even used by another company to store tires,” he said. “But it’s been empty for a while and we wanted to find a use for the space.

“In December 2016, we said, we do live music so well already, why wouldn’t we build another venue?”

Grand Rapids is a city with 100 plus music venues, from venues as small as a coffee shop, to as massive as Van Andel Arena. What was missing though was the middle ground, a venue for crowds between 500 and 1,500-person capacity.

This is where Elevation comes into play, with its 1,100-person capacity.

“Many artists are sensitive to playing to a half-empty room,” Hammontree explained. “So rather than having to book our main stage or skip Grand Rapids altogether, Elevation is a smaller space where some artists will thrive.”

Meanwhile, The Mint, which holds less than 200 people, can be used as an extension of Elevation and supports smaller shows. It will also be used for private and VIP booking as well as artist meet & greets.

One hope that Hammontree has is that these new venues allow the opportunity to book more local or smaller artists, and to literally give them a stage where they can grow. “[With booking], we want to go with what’s popular. We have a younger audience so we want to cater to them,” he said.

One thing is definite, with these new venues, Grand Rapids is welcoming to concerts of any size, which Hammontree notes, is a testament to the city’s love of all varieties of music.

His hope is to do another 60-100 shows this year because of the new venues. And for The Intersection, a venue that is already ranked top 50 in Pollstar ratings, this is an expansion sure to garner more national attention from artists of all sizes.

The new venues mean the future is bright on the corner of Grandville Ave. and Cherry Street, and further solidifies Grand Rapids as a tour destination for artists of any size. “Our philosophy of booking more diverse acts will always stay the same,” said Hammontree. “And with these new venues, we’re excited to keep doing that for the city, but even better.”

To see who’s playing this month visit The Intersection.

*Photo by Benjamin Howell

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