Tin Roof joining with Charleston’s Music Farm to bring concert venue to Columbia’s Vista

12/09/2013 6:27 PM

12/09/2013 6:28 PM

The Tin Roof, a Vista restaurant and nightclub, is making plans to renovate a warehouse into a concert hall and beer garden.

The project will be a partnership with The Music Farm, a Charleston concert hall and event management company, said Bob Franklin, president of the Tin Roof. The new venue will be called Music Farm at the Roof, according to a plan filed with Columbia’s Design/Development Review Commission.

“They’ve got a stellar reputation in the live music and promotions side of things,” Franklin said. “It brings their name to the table.”

Plans for the renovation will be presented Thursday during the Development Review Commission’s meeting, and if the project is approved, construction should begin after Christmas, Franklin said.

“If all goes well, we’d be ready to get some stuff in there definitely by summer,” he said.

The Tin Roof opened at 1022 Senate St. in 2010, bringing a venue with a full menu, a large bar and space for live music. It has hosted acts such as Darius Rucker and Rick Springfield. It is one of 11 locations owned by the Nashville, Tenn.-based company.

A vacant warehouse is adjacent to the Tin Roof’s building, and the new music hall will be inside it. The renovation plan involves changing a loading dock area into an entryway, adding awnings, painting and creating a ticket booth, according to the plan submitted to the development commission. The plan also says a beer garden enclosed by a brick wall has been proposed but does not offer any other details.

The new music venue should fill a gap in Columbia’s entertainment scene. There are arenas and large concert halls for major acts, but the city has lacked a medium-sized space that can host up-and-coming bands and singers as well as popular regional shows.

He knows others have tried to bring similar-sized concert rooms to the city and have failed. But the Tin Roof and Music Farm have the experience necessary to pull it off, he said.

Franklin said he hears people in the music industry talk about Columbia’s lack of performance venues, calling it a “hole in the market.” Many acts would stop in Columbia as they travel between Atlanta, Asheville, Charlotte and Charleston if they could find a place big enough to meet their contract requirements.

The Columbia venue most likely would host acts that also are playing in Charleston because bands would take advantage of their proximity, Franklin said.

The Music Farm at the Roof will have a capacity of 1,200, meaning it will be able to bring in acts that are too big for the Music Farm in Charleston, Franklin said. That concert hall holds 800 people.

Sarah Lewis, executive director of The Vista Guild, said an expansion would be good news for the area.

“As far as the Vista Guild is concerned we recognize and appreciate the great job Tin Roof has accomplished thus far to bring talented and popular entertainers to the Vista and to Columbia,” she wrote in an email to The State. “They have relationships with and access to big name performers and any expansion they may be able to create can only be positive.”

The partnership will be a first for the Tin Roof, Franklin said. He and his staff know the Music Farm’s owners well and are excited about working with them, he said.

“Columbia really makes a lot of sense,” he said. “We’re already there and we love the city. This should be great for the city.”

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