Knitting Factory Signs Criterion in OKC and New Virginia Beach Nightclub

the criterion
Eric Parrow 


Former Norva and National co-owner joins KFE booking team

Knitting Factory Entertainment has signed two new talent-buying deals for the 3,300-cap Criterion in Oklahoma City and the soon to opened 600-cap Elevation 27 nightclub in Virginia Beach.

KFE senior talent buyer David Poe will oversee the exclusive booking contract for both venues from his company's offices in New York. The Criterion is owned by by Ronnye Farmer and has hosted acts like Young the Giant, Kevin Gates, Arctic Monkeys, and Vance Joy. Opened in March 2016, the $8 million venue and was previously booked by Live Nation. Poe says he thinks he can increase the venue's show count and draw from the nearby city of Norman, home to the University of Oklahoma.

"Oklahoma City is a good music town, and it's bigger than a city like Tulsa, but it gets less shows. We want to change that," Poe tells Billboard

Elevation 27 is co-owned by Bill Reid, who sold the NorVa in Norfolk, Virginia and the National in Richmond, Virginia to AEG in 2014. Reid announced he was leaving AEG earlier this year. Elevation 27 will open in the former home of local restaurant Jewish Mother and chef-owner Scotty Miller will reopen Jewish Mother inside Elevation 27, serving breakfast and lunch and a late night menu for concerts and events.

"These are really exciting rooms for us to program and we've got some great ideas for shows," Poe tells Billboard. "Whether it's working with local promoters or national promoters, our job is to make sure the venue is filled, people are coming and the bands are there. We're open to partnering with whoever we need to get the job done."

Founded in 1987, KFE operates a number of music venues including the Federal Bar in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California and Knitting Factory venues in Brooklyn and Spokane. It also books and produces the Big Sky Brewing concert series in Missoula, Montana and Desert Daze in Southern California. In 2016, KFE partnered with Spaceland Presents in Los Angeles to launch The Regent Theatre, as well as Arts and Recreation Inc. to build Arrive Hotel in Palm Springs. It's also in the record business with Knitting Factory Records and operates Knitting Factory Management, as well as a film production company that has produced documentaries Finding Fela and They Will Have To Kill Us First: Malian Music in Exile.