New York City’s famed Roseland Ballroom will close its doors in April, according to an internal e-mail obtained by Billboard, though no official announcement has been made.
The venerable venue, owned by developer Larry Ginsberg and booked by Live Nation, opened at its 52nd street location, a converted skating rink, in 1958 and is a sentimental favorite for many bands. The history of the venue in New York dates back to 1919, when it was located at 51st and Broadway, and prior to that in Philadelphia.
Evolving from ballroom dancing in the ‘20s to popular music, Roseland has for years been a favored New York play for a wide range of bands from the early days of rock, through disco, grunge, modern rock, jam, pop, urban and EDM. The venue found a new gear with a $1 million production/rigging renovation in the early ‘90s, funded by Ginsberg, which led to more high profile bookings of multiple dates on bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, and other hot acts when competition in that cap range was not as fierce.
The room sits its in a sweet spot in terms of capacity at about 3,500, just right for developing bands climbing up the venue ladder as well as bigger bands, including the likes of the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Radiohead, that want to create buzz with an underplay. But its capacity is also a highly competitive space in the market, with AEG’s Best Buy Theater at about 2,500, the 3,500-cap Hammerstein Ballroom, Bowery Presents' Terminal 5 at 3,000 cap and the 2,800-cap Beacon Theatre, operated by Madison Square Garden.
Still, Roseland remains a busy room, and one artists and agents prefer in many cases, so the move to close is likely related more to property values than the venue’s bottom line.
The closing of Roseland will be “a huge loss for concerts in New York City,” says Ken Fermaglich at the Agency Group, who was surprised to hear the venue would shutter. “I love the venue and always have. I saw Nirvana there and will never forget that show.”
Among the acts currently on the Roseland calendar are Danzig, Fitz & the Tantrums, the Wanted, Pretty Lights, Hoodie Allen, and Panic! At the Disco. While no announcement has been made, it is likely that high profile artists will want to send the building off in style.
Live Nation New York and Roseland could not be reached for comment at press time. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.