The vast, long-vacant second story of New Orleans’ downtown casino has found a flashy new tenant: The Fillmore at Harrah’s New Orleans, a multimillion-dollar live music and entertainment venue slated to open in early 2019.
The Fillmore New Orleans will join several other Fillmore-branded venues around the country developed by Live Nation, the world’s largest producer of live entertainment.
Live Nation executives led a hard-hat tour of the construction site Thursday morning. The complex, with walls already framed and in place, includes a lobby bar, a VIP lounge and a main music hall with a standing-room capacity of 2,200.
That is slightly less than the Saenger Theatre’s seated capacity, but greater than the capacities of the Civic, Orpheum and Joy theaters, all of which also are in the Central Business District.
The Fillmore will have its own entrance from Canal Street so patrons can access the music venue without entering the casino itself; that will allow the Fillmore to host all-ages shows. Those who are 21 or older can also reach the Fillmore via the escalator in Harrah’s Masquerade club, an escalator that for years has led to an empty space.
The plan is for the Fillmore to stage approximately 60 public concerts in its first year, then ramp up to as many as 100 shows annually, said Ben Weeden, the chief operating officer of Live Nation’s club and theater division.
“It’s a volume business,” he said, referring to the number of shows, not how loud they are.
The Fillmore roster won’t consist of typical “casino acts,” i.e., bands on the backside of their careers who are cashing in on nostalgia. Instead, the venue’s emphasis will be on an eclectic mix of contemporary rock, rap and alternative acts, Weeden said.
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