Concerts returning to historic Kentucky Theatre

By Matt Wickstrom,

Kentucky Theatre marquee in downtown Lexington. Lexington Herald-Leader

LEXINGTON, Ky. — After years without, regularly scheduled music will soon be returning to the Kentucky Theatre’s marquee.

The historic 800-person theatre will have 10-12 concerts a year with shows taking place on a weeknight in order not to conflict with movie offerings.

A wide range of acts spanning rock, country, soul, Americana, R&B and other musical genres along with podcasters and other varieties of performance artists are planned every other month according to the Land Line Presents, who is in contract to produce shows at the Kentucky.

The first show was scheduled for March 11 featuring soulful Americana artists Anderson East and Foy Vance, but Land Line Presents said Vance dropped out and the show was canceled. The next concert has yet to be announced.

Land Line Presents is led by Cannon Armstrong, Will Harvey and Mark Evans. The trio are long-time concert promoters in Lexington and Louisville, with Armstrong and Harvey being co-owners of The Burl and Evans being a co-owner of Cosmic Charlie’sZanzabar in Louisville and event production company Vectortone.

“The Kentucky Theatre is a Lexington staple,” said Harvey. “I remember going to see shows and movies there as a kid, so it’s an honor to be able to be able to play a part in bringing music and other amazing events back to the theatre and the people of Lexington.”

Said Armstrong, “We’re going to be mixing it up a bit and doing everything we can to entice people from all over Lexington, the surrounding counties and beyond to come out and enjoy a Kentucky show.”

While the Kentucky Theatre, which opened in 1922, hasn’t had regular music since hosting the Troubadour Concert Series in the middle of last decade, it has opened its door to occasional shows. Bluegrass juggernauts Yonder Mountain String Band performed in the theatre in 2015 and more recently The Wood Brothers performed in the historic building in October 2018.

The theatre had long been searching for the perfect marriage in a production company to partner with in order to fill a main room that had largely fallen musically dark in recent years and to answer the call of patrons eager for concerts to return according to Manager Fred Mills, who feels like he’s found the ideal partner in Land Line Presents.

“The Land Line folks have been wildly successful in building their venues and come with an exemplary record and a wealth of connections that have me more excited than ever to bring music back to the Kentucky Theatre,” said Mills.

In addition to reviving concerts at the theatre, Land Line has already taken over full booking duties at The Burl and Cosmic Charlie’s along with Zanzabar. The group will also have the opportunity to book events occasionally at Manchester Music Hall and Headliners Music Hall in Louisville with further hopes of expanding to Western Kentucky and other portions of the state in the future.

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