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Valarium closure creates vacancy in Knox entertainment

11:51 PM, Nov 16, 2012   |    comments
An East Tennessee entertainment venue will soon close its doors, but not before the last few scheduled shows wrap.
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An East Tennessee entertainment venue will soon close its doors, but not before the last few scheduled shows wrap.

The Valarium and Ciderhouse, near downtown Knoxville, will shut down November 25th. On the club's Facebook page, managers say they have no choice due to rule changes by the state regarding food service and the number of days they must remain open each week.

The club has hosted many concerts and events during the last several years, including many well known bands.

"I hate to see it close and not be there because its just another venue for artists to come and play," said long-time radio host and Knox County Commissioner Mike Hammond, who now works for Q93 (WCYQ) Radio.

He explained, the Valarium held a certain market within Knoxville. The mid-sized venue has a capacity around 1500, which was both small enough for an intimate concert setting, but also large enough to draw big artists. Without it, Hammond predicts the local music scene will miss some opportunities.

"It gets down to economics and finances, and there are some acts that will not be able to play Knoxville simply because we do not have the venue to afford to bring them in," he said.

Knoxville features many other venues fit for concerts including both the Tennessee Theatre and the Bijou, as well as The Square Room on Market Square, and Cotton Eyed Joe's. Like the Valarium, however, each venue holds a specific market and is no more comparable than apples and oranges.

"There's nowhere that can pick up all the shows that they've [Valarium] got, so it does leave a hole that way," said Daniel Schuh of the Relix Variety Theatre on Central Avenue. His venue has assumed a small selection of Valarium's previous business, but Schuh - who runs a much smaller theater and hosts mostly private events - has no intentions of becoming a replacement.

"The music business is fairly difficult, and being diversified is definitely the way to make a business like this profitable," he said.

Hammond says, the gap left by Valarium's departure will be difficult to fill. Most likely, local entertainment will feel the difference.

"Either the acts don't come to town, or you bring them into a smaller venue and you charge a higher ticket price. But, you know, there are really not a lot of other options."

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