Live Nation Adds to New York Portfolio With Opening of ‘Beautiful Masterpiece’ Brooklyn Paramount Venue

The Brooklyn Paramount, Live Nation’s new 2,700-capacity venue in downtown Brooklyn, opens its doors Wednesday (March 27) with its first show: A headlining performance by Damian and Stephen Marley.

The concert kicks off an inaugural season at the venue that will bring artists including PinkPantheress, Oneohtrix Point Never, Waxahatchee, Norah Jones and Sting to its stage in the coming months.

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For Live Nation, Brooklyn Paramount fills a gap in the New York market between the promoter’s two 1,100-capacity clubs, Manhattan’s Irving Plaza and Brooklyn’s Warsaw, and its 3,500-capacity outdoor venue, The Rooftop at Pier 17.

“It was my journey for the last 10 years, finding this exact capacity within our pipeline of venues in New York City, because it was the one that we were missing,” says Stacie George, senior vp of Live Nation Northeast. “Now we have a home for artists in between those two stages [of development].”

Brooklyn Paramount
The Brooklyn Paramount concourse.

The addition of Brooklyn Paramount to Live Nation’s portfolio allows the promoter to better compete with AEG and its regional affiliate The Bowery Presents, which operates three venues across the city — Webster Hall, Brooklyn Steel and Terminal 5 — that range in capacity from 1,500 to 3,000, as well as Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s Beacon Theatre (2,900 capacity). And, taken in conjunction with Live Nation’s Manhattan clubs Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom, which hold about 250 and 600, respectively, Brooklyn Paramount now creates a clear path for an artist in Live Nation’s ecosystem from small rooms all the way up to the 5,000-capacity Central Park Summerstage, with which the promoter inked an exclusive booking partnership in late 2022.

“We want an artist, manager, agent to feel that we invest in their artist all the way from the beginning,” George says. “We want to grow with your artists and continue to give them amazing venues to play at. Your hope is always that you retain that relationship and that history.”

That doesn’t only apply to artists “on their way up” to the arena level but “on their way down”: “We want to be with them across their full journey and long musical career,” George says.

Brooklyn Paramount
Brooklyn Paramount’s concert space from the back of its floor.

Brooklyn Paramount’s new chapter is just the latest in its rich, nearly century-long history. First opened in 1928, the venue hosted seminal artists including Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly throughout the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. Long Island University (LIU) purchased the space in 1954 and, shortly after, converted it to a gymnasium. Nearly a decade ago, LIU began working to renovate the dormant theater; the venue’s re-opening is the culmination of a five-year planning, design and construction process by Live Nation.

For George, one of Brooklyn Paramount’s strongest assets is its location, which is immediately accessible by several subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road. And she expects the venue’s fusion of old Brooklyn history — its Rococo ceiling is among the many design details the renovation preserved — and modern amenities to attract fans and artists alike. For the former, the venue offers multiple high-end cocktail bars and a VIP balcony and lounge (Ella’s, taking its name from Fitzgerald). For the latter, Brooklyn Paramount provides spacious artist accommodations with showers, a workout space and even a game room with Pac-Man and a pinball machine.

From a production standpoint, the theater has parking space for three buses. “In New York, that’s a luxury,” George says with a laugh. “Half the time the buses have to drive to, like, New Jersey to park at a Walmart, because they can’t park in front of the venue.”

Brooklyn Paramount
Ella’s VIP lounge at Brooklyn Paramount.

In terms of booking, Brooklyn Paramount plans to continue to program a spectrum of genres in keeping with its initial calendar and to satisfy the diverse clientele it’s courting. While the venue was designed primarily as an all-general-admission space, some shows, like the multi-night runs by Jones and Sting, will be seated. Brooklyn Paramount has already announced more than 60 shows through October, and George says it has locked in an additional 50 that have yet to be unveiled.

Several hundred guests received a first look at the venue — “this beautiful masterpiece,” as George puts it — on Tuesday night at its re-opening preview party, with live music including a DJ set by St. Vincent in Ella’s. “Seeing people walk in and just have that ‘wow’ moment — that’s exciting,” George says.

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