Rich Howells

EXCLUSIVE: Scranton’s Stage West expands with new State College music venue opening Feb. 21 in old Crowbar

EXCLUSIVE: Scranton’s Stage West expands with new State College music venue opening Feb. 21 in old Crowbar
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The owner of Stage West in Scranton and DamnMillennial! Promotions is expanding his brand with a new venue that brings up a lot of old memories for Penn State graduates and those who live in Central Pennsylvania.

Today, Steve Masterson announced exclusively through NEPA Scene that he is opening Stage West – State College next month in a location best known at the Crowbar, which closed in 2006 after years of hosting major bands like the Misfits, GWAR, Disturbed, My Chemical Romance, Yellowcard, Brand New, Clutch, Mastodon, CKY, Staind, Static-X, Rollins Band, Breaking Benjamin, and many more.

The building has seen several name changes and rebrands over the years, most recently Re//Bar in the fall of 2019, but Masterson promises to keep this 520-person capacity room a live music venue.

“Stage West has been a success since opening in October of 2018. My passion for the music industry and desire to expand the brand led to the addition of another venue. The opportunity recently arose to take over a struggling venue in a new market,” he told NEPA Scene.

“DamnMillennial! Promotions has been successfully booking and promoting shows at Stage West in Scranton as well as other neighboring markets – HMAC in Harrisburg and Warehouse on Watts in Philadelphia. When the opportunity for this new market came about, it was a no-brainer to jump on it!”

As a Penn State Worthington grad and football fan, he has always felt a strong connection with PSU and State College.

“I have many amazing memories of visiting State College from my college years and beyond. It is very surreal to be coming full circle to be able to pursue my passion of music in such a great college town,” Masterson said.

“I was thrilled to be able to bring more live music to the market to fill that similar void that Scranton had.”

Like Scranton’s Stage West, this club will bring in national touring acts representing all genres of music. Its first shows as Stage West – State College (420 E. College Ave., State College) will be held on the weekend of Feb. 21, and concerts already booked there like The Clarks on Feb. 22, Reel Big Fish on March 1, Badfish on April 22, and Against Me! on March 17 will continue as scheduled.

“The venue is basically turnkey, which is another reason that made this venue so attractive. Matt Kester Productions will be installing new state-of-the-art sound and lighting in the venue. We will be adding new furnishings and interior design consistent with the Stage West brand.”

These renovations and updates from the Scranton-based Matt Kester Productions (who also provides light and sound at Stage West) will be completed in time for opening weekend, and Masterson plans to bring his experiences from West Side to Stage College.

“I’ve learned so much in this business in just this past year and still have much to learn. Talent buying is certainly the most important aspect of these venues. It is driver to the success or failure of a venue, along with the ability to market these events to potential customers. There will always be ups and downs, slow nights and sold-out shows. What keeps me going is that look on the fan’s face of pure enjoyment of the music and being able to share that with so many new friends,” he explained.

“Building relationships within the business is also very important. From the agents to the artists to the tour managers and everyone in between, it’s critical to building a strong network. They need to be able to trust that their artists are in good hands with the venue and promoter to ensure they will be able to deliver the very best show to their fans.”