Rock Music Menu: Philly’s iconic Electric Factory sold
By Michael Christopher Times Music Columnist
Sep 13, 2018
Wednesday marked the end of an era on the Philly music scene as the iconic Electric Factory announced it has been sold to The Bowery Presents, a concert promotion and venue management group that itself was acquired by global concert promoting behemoth AEG Live in 2016.
“What a ride it’s been,” said Larry Magid, head of Electric Factory and Electric Factory Concerts, in a statement. “We would like to thank the hundreds of thousands of fans who have attended the over 2,500 shows at Electric Factory from its original location at 22nd and Arch from 1968-1970 to its rebirth in 1995 at Seventh and Willow. A special thanks to all the employees, old and new, that have worked at the Factory over the years and to the great acts who have graced our stage, it’s been our privilege to work with you.”
Magid, along with his partner, Adam Spivak, earlier this year celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Electric Factory, an occasion that involved a donation and endowment of several scholarships to Temple University for their world-renowned Arts Curriculum, including $1,000,000 scholarship each in the names of Bruce Springsteen, comedian Billy Crystal and actress and singer Bette Midler.
“In the spirit of new beginnings, Adam and I wish AEG great success with our baby as well as Live Nation with their opening of The Met Philadelphia later this year,” Magid added. “Fifty years ago, we blazed a path and we feel very comfortable that the tradition of great music in one of the greatest music cities in the world will be well represented and will continue for many years to come. Thank you for all your support through the years!”
And while the venue itself is part of the deal, the Electric Factory name, trademark and iconic Ben Franklin logo is not, with a placeholder name of North Seventh now the official title of the building until a new one is determined in a contest.
“Due to restrictions by the previous owner we are not able to retain the historic name,” reads a statement on northseventhphilly.com. “But don’t worry, the venue that brought you your favorite concerts with such memorable performances will continue to focus on bringing you the best experiences by the artists you love in the venue you love.”
There is then a contest form made available for residents 18 and older from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey to rename the concert spot, with the winner receiving a pair of tickets to every show through 2020.
A press release from Bowery Presents was less diplomatic, reading in part, “Use of the legendary Electric Factory name has been refused by Live Nation, the owners of the venue’s trademark and logos. As such, The Bowery Presents has temporarily named the venue “North Seventh” and turns to Philadelphia’s robust music community to crowdsource a permanent new moniker.”
The writing for the sale has been on the wall since this past spring, when Bowery Presents began holding shows at the Electric Factory, with Live Nation having no part in the venue’s curation of acts from mid-March onward.
The original Electric Factory opened in 1968 at 22nd and Arch and shuttered its doors in 1973. Twenty years later, in October of 1995, the Electric Factory Warehouse opened at its current location at 421 N. Seventh Street as a 2,500-capacity venue with its name a nod to the Factory’s initial building.