Knitting Factory Concert House in Boise plans to ‘roar to life.’ When? You might be surprised.
With pandemic restrictions lifted, concert venues nationwide are scheduling shows again.
But Idaho music fans eager to storm the stage at the Knitting Factory Concert House, 416 S. 9th St., will have to wait awhile.
Downtown Boise’s popular music destination plans to return to action — but not for another two full months. Americana musician Shakey Graves will headline an Aug. 1 concert, Knitting Factory talent buyer Danny Glazier said.
“There might be some sort of event day before or day after,” he said, “but in terms of full, official grand opening, it only makes sense that it’s Shakey Graves — that we’ve had in our room a million times, and we love to death.”
Founded in 2001 as The Big Easy Concert House before being rebranded as the Knitting Factory in 2008, the 999-capacity venue normally offers around 150 events per year. By August, the room will have been silent for more than 16 months. But returning midsummer is in line with other similar spaces around the country, Glazier said.
“It all comes down to touring volume,” he explained. “We don’t want to open until that volume is back to somewhat normal. And the touring business — as of right now on the club level — looks to be reaching somewhat of a post-pandemic level in August and mainly September. So that’s one of the reasons you don’t see us opening immediately.
“The other reason is, quite frankly, we need to start rehiring.”
When the Knitting Factory does reopen, the plan is to do so at full capacity, Glazier said. But he expects some concertgoers to have mixed feelings about packing themselves into a sweaty, sold-out show again.
That’s another reason it makes sense not to rush things. Traversing the ever-changing dynamics of the pandemic, the Knitting Factory wants to be reborn with a well-constructed plan, Glazier said.
“We need to re-evaluate our COVID-19 protocols, because we find it essential to make people feel safe,” he said. “And kind of help people navigate a little bit of the PTSD they might have after the pandemic. I think we owe it to our patrons to give them a plan what to expect when they come through our doors for the first time in 16 months. ... We don’t want to force it. We want to get it right.”
The Knit steadily has been adding future shows, ranging from late summer (Randy Rogers Band on Aug. 20) and early fall (Tanya Tucker on Oct. 5) to deep into next year’s calendar (Flaming Lips on April 28).
In Garden City, the larger Revolution Concert House and Event Center already has returned with occasional cabaret-setting concerts in its 2,200-capacity room. The Young Dubliners performed for about 600 fans on May 21, and Super Diamond played for roughly 400 the following night. Cash’D Out will be there June 15, also in a cabaret setup.
But owner Creston Thornton agreed that the touring industry probably won’t pick up significantly until August or September.
And 2022 is when promoters expect the ball to start rolling again at full speed — if not faster.
“I think all of us are anticipating a little bit of a honeymoon phase,” Glazier said. “Because people want to get out. They want to see shows again. I think 2022 is probably going to be one of the best years in the touring business in general.
“I think we’re going to roar to life.”