Louisville’s $12 million Paristown Hall will open July 23. (Courtesy Kentucky Center)
Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, with standing room for 2,000, owned and operated by PAC
Interpol, Lucero and Gavin DeGraw are some of the acts that will play the inaugural season at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall in Louisville, Ky. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue will headline the opening event July 23, along with performances from the dance troupe Pilobolus, Mucca Pazza and local star Ben Sollee.
This will be the third venue to be owned and operated by the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, alongside the Kentucky Center on Main Street and the Brown Theatre on Broadway.
“We’re in the final stages of getting it built,” said Kim Baker, president and CEO of the Kentucky Center. “It is wonderful to see Old Forester’s Paristown Hall nearing its opening, and we’re so excited about the acts we’ve booked.”
Other confirmed artists who will play the new facility include Ryan Bingham, Hippo Campus, Lydia Loveless and Surfbort.
Baker said there was a need for a 2,000-capacity venue in Louisville and a need for a standing-room venue. “We didn’t have anything under our umbrella that would fit the kind of work we want to pursue,” she said.
Paristown is the name of the historic neighborhood southeast of downtown where the venue sits. Construction began on the 28,000-square-foot building in 2017 and the project will cost $12 million when completed. The financing is a combination of private money and funds from a state tourism plan.
“We’re the centerpiece of a much larger project in the Paristown neighborhood,” Baker said. “There is a beautiful garden next to venue, and there’s a projection screen in the garden, and it will be an interesting area. Eventually the city will hold festivals in the garden. It’s conceptualized as a multifaceted entertainment area that will unfold over the next few years.”
Old Forester’s Paristown Hall is multilevel and designed by wHY Architecture’s Kulapat Yantrasast, the current go-to architect for contemporary art galleries and museums, who designed the skin of the new venue and then handed off the design process to local Louisville architect K Norman Berry.
Baker is just as proud of the venue’s high-end sound and lighting packages.
“One of our primary focuses was to make sure it had outstanding sound and lighting,” Baker said. “We hired Threshold Acoustics to do the work and told them we wanted to invest in really quality gear.”
They chose a D&B Audiotechnik sound system with Meyer Sound monitors. The lighting package, featuring a grandMA3 lighting control platform, is a top-of-the-line system as well.
The new theater is half a mile from the Brown Theatre and a mile and a half from the Kentucky Center.
The new facility has bars and some grab-and-go items, all being managed in-house. There is no general manager for the new building but rather an operations manager and a bar manager. All the administration will be done from the Kentucky Center offices. Local promoter Production Simple is the exclusive booking agent.
Ticket prices will range from $25 to $60 and premium tickets will run $50-$75. “We want the prices to be affordable and reasonable,” Baker said.
Old Forester is a popular bourbon in Louisville, and the distillery put its name on the venue in a five-year deal.
“We’re in a really wonderful spot,” Baker said. “We have a wonderful arts community here, and to be able to give them a space for contemporary shows is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.”